Google Maps To Catch MapQuest By End Of The Year
Even with the strong growth of portable navigation devices, online mapping sites remain popular for trip planning, local search and written direction.
The current global number of 300 million unique visitors is expected to grow at annual rate of 15 percent in the coming years, according to ABI research.
In the U.S. MapQuest and Google are competing for market leadership, leaving Yahoo Maps and Microsoft Live Search Maps trailing.
"For the time being, MapQuest seems able to maintain its number one position in the US with more than 40 million unique visitors per month by launching new interactive Map 2.0 features such as My Places," says ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte.
"However, Google is expected to emerge as the market leader by the end of 2009, driven by superior virtual reality-based navigation simulation, Latitude social networking features, and traffic generated from Google Search. All major mapping portals now also offer dynamic location content such as real-time traffic and weather."
Europe shows a similar trend with traditional regional online mapping sites such as MapQuest, Multimap, Falk, and ViaMichelin being challenged by Internet companies. In developing regions such as China and Korea online mapping sites are facing strict government regulation limiting the use of aerial imagery.
A new category of navigation and location-based services is emerging with both TomTom and Nokia recently introducing online route planners.
The fixed-mobile convergence trend will continue to drive the integration between mobile and desktop mapping for applications such as social networking and advertising.