Apple Starts Using it’s Own Location Data – See Ya GOOG

Apple defines gravitas, owns location data on iOS (so long Google) | 9 to 5 Mac:

“To provide the high quality products and services that its customers demand, Apple must have access to comprehensive location-based information. For devices running iPhone OS versions 1.1.3 to 3.1, Apple relied on (and still relies on) databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless (“Skyhook”) to provide location-based services. Beginning with the iPhone OS version 3.2 released in April 2010, Apple relies on its own databases to provide location-based services and for diagnostic purposes. These databases must be updated continuously to account for, among other things, the ever-changing physical landscape, more innovative uses of mobile technology, and the increasing number of Apple’s customers. Apple has always taken great care to protect the privacy of its customers.”

To me this just made complete sense . With location data concern being so high on the radar these days, trusting one of your biggest competitors to safeguard your user’s data doesn’t seem like a goo idea anymore. I’m not saying that Google just became Evil, that is still Microsoft and Ballmer’s job. But it does raise some ethical questions about Google handling all of the location data for the iDevices.

6 comments

  1. On the otherhand we're all happily foursquaring or gowalling or whatever our every single step.

    The value is in what you do with the data, not with having the data. The user interface, the search methods, etc. are what counts. Getting the data is just a matter of man-power. Companies like Navteq and Tele Atlas already have armies of GPS toting drones recording every sidewalk crack and blade of grass in the world. Apple, Google, etc. should concentrate on making that data useful to Joe Schmoe standing on the street corner wondering which way to go.

    Not to mention we're going to end-up with fractured data. The regional incumbent will have the most comprehensive data; the gorilla's (like Google & Microsoft) will put their minions to work duplicating and adding to the detail in their own database; and everyone else will be left in the dust.

    Back in the good 'ol days(tm)(r)(c) there was only place you could get located-based information: the yellow pages. And if you wanted people to find you you made sure you were in the Yellow Pages.

    I see nothing wrong with having one database to store them, one database to find them, one database to bring them all, and in the pasty yellowness bind them!!!

  2. The big issue is not that are data is being collected, it is in fact that Google could very easily dip into Apple user's data to gleam a competitive advantage. And with all of the probing that is being done in Google WiFi data collection among other things, there is nothing to say it hasn't already been done.

  3. I see nothing wrong with rating results based on popularity?!

    And if Google made the same PlaceRank (hey, I'm TM'ing that right now, okay Google! You owe me if you use it) API available so that iOS, Android, J2ME, etc. could all use it then again, I see nothing wrong!

    I know those are big IF's but I'm more inclined to believe Google will live up to it's “do no evil” motto than either Apple or Microsoft would.

  4. This has nothing to do with PlaceRank. It has everything to with Google knowing where heavy concentrations of Apple or in fact any product users are located and then feeding those devices targeted ads or even worse launching localized advertising of their own competing products. It's simply another instance of information monopoly. Competition breeds innovation and lately Google's offering has not been very exciting, Micrcosoft Bing has even managed to match it a remarkably short space of time.

  5. I understand your concern now.

    But competition is not the panacea that all those pundits who once saw an Econ 101 course outline claim it is.

    (Oh yeah, Bing's global market share is 3.25% vs. Google's 85%)

  6. Over confidence and monopolies breed stagnation and contempt. Remember when Google's share (search not location) was 90%+ . As much as it pains me to say it, MSFT matched Google's offering in less than a year and almost with their first attempt. There is no excuse for that