October 5, 2013
Google Maps Wins Award For Being On iOS
I’ve spoken before about the disparities between Google Maps in real life and the perception of Google Maps following the iOS 6 Maps fiasco. Granted, it’s a difficult discussion to have. Discussing mapping applications (because apparently that’s something I do at bars) can be like discussing wireless carriers.
(Another conversation I have at bars. I’m a blast to drink with. No, really.)
Which is to say, what works for one person might not work for another. I can say with full confidence that Verizon offers superb coverage in my area. I also know that my hometown is AT&T country. And mapping applications aren’t easy to build. There’s just so much STUFF out there that people want on record, defined, and laid out on a grid. Yet I am of the mind that neither Apple nor Google have The Best Mapping Application hands down. Both have steered me wrong, both have gotten me lost, and both have frustrated me enough to swear off the other. It never lasts long.
And now that Google Maps is out on iOS and all those people who said they’d never update to iOS 6 until it was available in the app store have finally done so (where’s the sarcasm font on this thing?), it seemed as if we could all move along from this silly debate and just use whatever works for us.
FastCoDesign, it seems, is willing to stoke these coals once more.
FastCo has just released the winners of their Innovation By Design Awards and have declared Google Maps the winner in the Interactive category.
But it’s not just Google Maps that won; it’s Google Maps for iOS.
“If any of us ever took Google Maps for granted, that impulse ended the moment Apple released its mapping software. Apple’s PR nightmare reminded us all just how hard this whole navigation space can be. But Google Maps for iPhone not only rescued us from bad directions, it did so through a more refined UI than ever before,” reads the marketing copy for the award.
9 to 5 Google asks a pertinent and incredibly and facepalmingly obvious question: “Someone show them Maps on Android?”
I’ve got no problem giving credit where it’s due. Google has stepped up their design game over the past two years or so and each of their iOS apps not only look uniform, they look beautifully uniform. They’re generally minimalistic, simple to use and solidly built apps. I mean, it is Google after all. Google Maps is a fine app.
I’d like to know, however, why FastCo bothered to get so specific and single out iOS and leave Android out in the cold like a soulless ginger child?
While I’ve never used Google Maps on Android (or had any significant experience with any recent version of the OS) I do know that the app can do more than the iOS version. From what I can tell, both versions of the app look remarkably similar. I mean, they even use the same screenshot in both app stores.
So why you gotta be stirring up the pot, FastCo?
At the risk of bruising this dead horse, my experience has been neither app outshines the other in terms of getting me from point A to point B with a brief pitstop at my local watering hole.
In the end, I’m not too worried if a maps app drops me off 500 yards away from my intended location or takes me somewhere else entirely.
(While on my honeymoon, Google Maps guided my wife and me to a trailer park. We were looking for a shopping mall.)
In the end, these things work about as well as technology allows it, and you know what? Sometimes they get it wrong.
It wasn’t until an option came along (or was foisted upon us) that we began to pit the two against one another and think of Google too fondly.
I didn’t want to have this conversation again, but apparently FastCo thought it best if we pick the scab and start the bleeding all over again.
I’m going to ask Siri if she can guide me to a knowledgeable therapist.