Big changes. Apple finally ended its long time dependence on Google Maps. As part of its latest operating system upgrade to iOS 6, Apple is launching its own, home-grown mapping service. It is an impressive offering. In a very different move, Microsoft is replacing its own Bing maps in all Windows Phone devices. Nokia maps, previously Navteq, will replace Microsoft’s home-grown Bing Maps. Micello has a new indoor location trial that isn’t just indoor mapping. This month the FCC has something to say on the topic of privacy in LBS apps. ABI Research has high expectations for indoor location.
Google maps will be demoted to just another app on iPhones and iPads, a blow to Google’s bottom line. iOS device owners account for 28 percent of Google Map users in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Spain, reports Analysis Mason. This parting will create additional friction in the contentious relationship between Google and Apple. Many partners are helping Apple produce the offering, but TomTom is the only one acknowledged in the announcement. Apple reports TomTom is “powering Apple maps.” No explanation has been given.
The new Apple in-house maps built for iOS 6 include 100 million business listings and Yelp recommendations, integrated with real-time, crowd-sourced traffic, navigation, and suggested travel routes. It all works with Siri, Apple’s voice-activated search software. Siri has its critics, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak who has been quoted with derisive, even crude, comments on Siri’s usability.
Will Location Move Stock Price? Facebook says it’s working on a location-based mobile-advertising product that will allow advertisers to target users based on their real-time whereabouts. Facebook’s shares have dropped by almost 20 percent since the company’s initial public offering, fueled partly by concern that ad-revenue growth isn’t keeping up with a shift by users to mobile phones.
LBS Is Being Monitored. Ever concerned with privacy, the FCC released a report on location-based services. The agency declined to adopt privacy regulations or best practices, but indicated it would monitor the industry for the following: ensuring privacy considerations are integral to product development, security of data from unauthorized access, timing and frequency of location privacy notices to consumers, and minimization of data collected and time period for which it is retained. The FCC warns it will take additional steps if not satisfied with privacy implementation for LBS.
Indoor Fortunes. Indoor location is positioned to save retail brick and mortar, says ABI Research. I wouldn’t go that far, but it will certainly have a positive impact. Major U.S. retail brands will launch indoor location technologies in 2012 and 2013, says ABI. “Revenue will come from multiple sources, including advertising, infrastructure deployment/service fees, and application management,” says Patrick Connolly. The technology will enable advances in customer analytics, proximity advertising, store optimization, couponing, and CRM. Retailers will likely want to control store data, which will be an important consideration in picking partners.
I Am Here. Micello, indoor mapping creator, has a trial for its new FindMe location application. Users can share their whereabouts in Singapore with anyone in their address book. The app allows users to send a text that includes a detailed map that shows the user’s indoor location. The company is expanding the app to Las Vegas and some college campuses.
Grapevine. Rumors persist that Amazon is in talks to acquire Jumptap, one of the mobile advertising network leaders. Amazon plans to enlarge its Special Offers advertising platform to the Kindle Fire Tablet, a competitor to Apple’s pricier iPad, reports Ad Age. A Jumptap purchase would make sense. Amazon has a treasure trove of purchase information on individual users on hand that can be used to develop personalized and contextual mobile advertising.
Timing Is Everything. In Apple’s forthcoming operating system update, all applications will require explicit user permission before accessing personal information, such as location information. Apple made the announcement just after developer Arun Thampi reported iOS social application Path was uploading users’ address books to its servers. A backlash from consumers and legislators followed. Path later acknowledged storing user data and updated its app to enable users to opt out of its contacts database.
Sad News. Sorry to hear Nokia plans to cut 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013. Remember when Navteq had the mapping world in the palm of its hand? What a fall. Last year Nokia cut 14,000 jobs.