Apple has been working on improve Maps since 2018 and the company announced the new version has rolled out to all U.S. customers.
Apple Maps has lagged behind Google Maps since its introduction, but Apple began an intense effort to close the gap, deploying fleets of camera-equipped Apple Vans to gather much more detailed information about roads, buildings, landmarks and topography.
“We set out to create the best and most private maps app on the planet that is reflective of how people explore the world today,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, in the press release. “It is an effort we are deeply invested in and required that we rebuild the map from the ground up to reimagine how Maps enhances people’s lives — from navigating to work or school or planning an important vacation — all with privacy at its core. The completion of the new map in the United States and delivering new features like Look Around and Collections are important steps in bringing that vision to life. We look forward to bringing this new map to the rest of the world starting with Europe later this year.”
Maps also offers a similar feature as Google Maps’ Street View.
“Maps offers interactive street-level imagery with high-resolution, 3D photography and smooth and seamless transitions through major cities with Look Around. Customers from anywhere in the world can navigate through New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston and Oahu, with many more places to come.”
One area where Apple has worked to differentiate itself from Google and other tech companies is its strong commitment to privacy. The company took the opportunity to point out how Maps respects user privacy.
“Apple is committed to keeping personal information safe and has built privacy into the core of Maps. With Maps, no sign-in is required and it is not connected to an Apple ID in any way. Personalized features, such as suggesting departure time to make the next appointment, are created using on-device intelligence. Any data collected by Maps while using the app, like search terms, navigation routing and traffic information, is associated with random identifiers that continually reset to ensure the best possible experience and to improve Maps. Maps goes even further to obscure a user’s location on Apple servers when searching for a location through a process called “fuzzing.” Maps converts the precise location where the search originated to a less-exact one after 24 hours and does not retain a history of what has been searched or where a user has been.”
It remains to be seen if Apple Maps completely matches Google Maps, but today’s announcements and the myriad improvements are a good start.