Did they drop TeleAtlas too early
So I want to follow up on the nuclear bomb dropped on the geospatial industry – but instead I want to focus on what James pointed out about spatial accuracy. I think Goog made the switch to their own data too soon. My wife has used Google religiously for getting driving directions for a couple of years now and always been happy with it. In the past week it has gotten her lost 4 times – she has now switched to MapQuest or Bing. I tried to use it for directions here in the bay area and it took me into the East Bay to get to somewhere on the Peninsula. I went straight back to TeleNav (ATT Navigator) and had no problems. Google’s routing data sucks right now and there are no two ways about it. This is not due to bad algorithms since they used to work great on TeleAtlas (TA) data.
I know there would have been huge $ implications for using TA data for turn by turn navigation routing (they charge a lot more for that “use case”) but Google has a bazillion dollars. So I think there are two reasons why they did it.
1. They think they are smarter than everyone else and their fairy dust network would get them up to speed fast enough.
2. Marc Prioleau had the idea that perhaps TA got wind of what was going down and gave them an ultimatum. Sign a contract or we will never let you do turn by turn.
If it was number one then I think they switched too early.
Getting directions wrong has a lot more serious consequences than giving me the wrong search results. I only need once or twice and I am switching providers. I don’t care if it is free – directions are either right or wrong.
If I am lucky, wrong wastes my time, if I am not so lucky it can put me in danger. Yeah yeah, say all you want about you get what you pay for – but that is not a way to keep users on your service.There are a bunch of other “free services” out there that I could use but I don’t because they are worthless. Google dominated in search because it gave the best results and then inertia set in. They may not be so lucky here – wrong driving directions are useless.
I hope those fairies are working overtime correcting their street network…
Btw, poor TeleNav – guess they picked a bad time to stop being a privately owned firm.