Wikipedia Latest To Give Google Maps The Slip


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With how so many high profile partners have been dumping Google Maps lately, you'd think Google was patient zero for some communicative bubonic cootie-cancer that everybody was fleeing from. First foursquare bailed and then Apple's been to distancing itself from Google Maps. Now, the latest company to dump Google Maps is Wikipedia.

The announcement came by way of today's update to the Wikipedia app for iOS and Android, in which the open-source encyclopedia site announced a bevy of updates to bring the iOS version on par with the Android app's features. Aside from the updated features, the biggest change in this version is Wikipedia replacing Google Maps with the internet's newest mapping sweetheart, OpenStreetMap. Realistically, OpenStreetMap is more in line with Wikipedia's central mission of making information as available and free as possible, but as a post from the site's official blog explains, other factors came into play as well:

Previous versions of our application used Google Maps for the nearby view. This has now been replaced with OpenStreetMaps – an open and free source of Map Data that has been referred to as ‘Wikipedia for Maps.’ This closely aligns with our goal of making knowledge available in a free and open manner to everyone. This also means we no longer have to use proprietary Google APIs in our code, which helps it run on the millions of cheap Android handsets that are purely open source and do not have the proprietary Google applications.

If it was Microsoft's goal to dislodge Google Maps as the default source for all things online geography by funneling money into OpenStreetMap, so far that operation appears to be running smoothly.

Aside from that search world tremor, there are actual updates to the app. For iOS:

  • Search suggestions
  • Full text search
  • “Did you mean?” results
  • Saving pages for offline viewing
  • Share pages via Twitter, Facebook
  • Save pages to Read It Later
  • Read current page in other languages
  • Map integration to view nearby articles
  • View location of current article + nearby articles in a map
  • Set the default language
  • Navigation history features
  • And for Android:

  • Quick Search Bar integration
  • Open Wikipedia URLs from any application using the Wikipedia app
  • Full Text Search and ‘Did you Mean?’ correction support
  • A much better tablet interface
  • App can be moved to SD Card
  • General bug fixes
  • [Via TheNextWeb.]