Perhaps one of the most useful inventions and advances of technology was the GPS chip, allowing users to navigate around the world. Forget about paper maps, directions given by other people or websites. The GPS revolution has become so massive that everyone uses on-the-go navigation.
Navigating on your smartphone is the easiest method to find your way around town. Perhaps the most familiar one is Google Maps because it comes preinstalled as the navigation system of most smartphones. That is Google Maps came with almost all smartphone until Apple developed its own navigation app: Apple Maps. A third app gaining popularity is Waze and it is no wonder it was purchased by Google.
Let’s take a look at Google Maps
The giant company has invested massive amounts of money, time and resourced into developing a world map and the Street View option. The Street View car allegedly traveled more than 7 million miles in order to that photos for all public roads (99% of them). Taking 360-degree photos is a tedious job and it allowed users to preview their route from a first person perspective. Recently, the company has invested even more money by using complex software to provide users with 3D imaging for the most popular areas around the world. Therefore, besides enjoying the first-person perspective, travelers can also zoom on the surrounding area and it can also tell you information about the traffic situation of the moment. Traffic alerts are very important since it saves time and frustration.
Other positive things about Google Maps is its clean interface and the direction button which offers you the amount of time needed and your available options for traveling by car, by foot or public transport. The app also offers spoken direction, alert mode and written directions. To denote a location, Google Maps uses an arrow pointing the direction faced by the user. The company invests constantly into their apps and therefore, Google Maps is a very strong opponent and very difficult to defeat by other similar applications.
Apple’s navigation map has been created so that Apple’s device will no longer use Google Maps. At the beginning, the app has several bugs, but nowadays it seems to be properly functioning and improving constantly. According to users, Apple has the most pleasing look and it gives a modern feel to the map. The app is also properly integrated along with other iOS apps, giving users suggestions for upcoming events they might need to travel to. Also, the app offers OpenTable option, used to make restaurant reservations or to share a ride with someone. Similar to Google’s interface, Apple Maps has a simple and easy to use one with an input address and a destination one. The focus of the app is to provide navigation, while Google Maps is more focused on places, a focus better for tourists.
Waze and its features
Waze belong to the Google company since 2013 (technically it is owned by Alphabet). However, the aesthetics of the app is very different to Google Maps. After downloading the app, users need to create an account using their phone numbers or their Facebook account. The main screen has a Spotify icon allowing users to connect to their Spotify account so as to manage their music directly from Waze. The orange button (map-marker symbol) allows users to report traffic, car or speed accidents. This option allows users to follow alternative routes and avoid traffic jams. The sound can be turned on/off or the alert mode can be activated.
All in all, the three apps have their pluses and minuses. In the end it is all about your taste in design and interface.