No Map Love at WWDC 2014.

3D-Maps-iconBefore today’s WWDC, there were a lot of hints that there would be some big announcements from Apple on new features for maps as part of the iOS8/Yosemite launch. Most of the speculation was on transit routing, including a pretty detailed review from 9to5Mac, complete with screen shots.  So I watched the Tim & Craig show from start to finish, and here’s what I saw:  Nothing. Continue reading No Map Love at WWDC 2014.

Where does HERE go?

NokiSoftI thought that this graphic was pretty funny but it implies that the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia’s handset business is no big deal. That’s not the case.  It is a big deal in that these two companies at one time dominated their industries and now they’re struggling to be relevant. It’s a big deal in that it is effectively the end of Nokia as we’ve known it.

It’s not a big deal for me in that I swore many years ago that I’d never buy another Microsoft phone and have no reason to think that will change.

As you might guess, I am more interested in what remains of Nokia, and especially the NAVTEQ/HERE business. I am also interested in why these guys can’t find the Caps Lock key but that’s another blog. Continue reading Where does HERE go?

Waze, the FTC and Google’s Map Dominance

Bloomberg Interview 62413Waze is turning out to be the media gift that keeps on giving…I was asked to comment on Bloomberg West about the rumored FTC review of Google’s acquisition of Waze; my fourth Waze related interview. Kinda looking forward to talking about something else. The interview is linked here.

As the saying goes, I am not an anti-trust expert;  I just play one on TV. I can’t comment on what is or isn’t an anti-trust violation from a legal perspective.  From a practical perspective though, I am not convinced that the Waze acquisition turns Google Maps into more of a juggernaut than it already was. Said another way (and as outlined in my last post),  Google was already the mapping superpower; adding Waze strengthen that but the fact was pre-existing.

A lot of the anti-trust talk seems to have been started by comments by Waze CEO Noam Bardin at an AllThingsD conference where he said:

“We feel that we’re the only reasonable competition to [Google] in this market of creating maps that are really geared for mobile, for real-time, for consumers — for the new world that we’re moving into.”

Those words are more aspirational than factual.

Removing Waze from the field does not eliminate competition for Google. What it does do is to take a creative alternative off the market; someone who was rethinking the game and aggressively growing a map product that wasn’t a carbon copy of Google but something different, with a different value for the user.  Whether Waze could have built themselves into a big competitor or become the baseline for some other acquirer will never be known but that was the potential of Waze.

There are plenty of alternatives, just not many creative alternatives.  And that creativity is what’s going to be needed to push Google in this market.


Beating the Block: How to take on Google Maps

B-2_spirit_bombingJune 17, 2013: In November 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, symbolically ending the Cold War. Two years later, the Soviet Union dissolved, leaving the United States as “the world’s only superpower”. In the decade that followed, no other country could come close to the military power of the U.S.

Notwithstanding, in January, 1997, the US Air Force launched the B-2 bomber, the most advanced military bomber in history. It is capable of penetrating deeply into Soviet airspace…combatting a threat which no longer exists.

I thought of that when Google bought Waze last week.

Continue reading Beating the Block: How to take on Google Maps

Blocking Strategies: Why Google Bought Waze

The RayduhsJune 12, 2013: After weeks of rumors, Google finally won the Waze Dot Race, paying an estimated $1B for the Israeli-based traffic start-up. Since Google already has traffic, maps and a team, the move has been described as a “blocking” move; a move to keep Waze out of the hands of Google’s rivals who might want to use it to build competitive service in the mapping, navigation and traffic markets.

If it is a blocking move (and I think that’s a good partial explanation. For more talking head stuff, see here), it begs the question of what precisely are they blocking…what do they want to tie up, away from competitors, that is worth that much money?

What they’re not blocking: The Waze app.

Continue reading Blocking Strategies: Why Google Bought Waze

Would someone just buy these guys?

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 4.36.32 PMIn January it was Apple (rumors that TechCrunch bunked one day and debunked the next).

A week ago it was Facebook

Today it’s Google.

Would one of you guys just buy Waze and get it over with?  Here I am on Bloomberg West talking about the acquisition rumors that continue to float around about someone buying Waze at the currently hot acquisition price (pinkie to mouth here)… ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!!!! Continue reading Would someone just buy these guys?

Hanging Out with @CageyJames

Hanging Out with @cageyjamesA week ago, I joined the pantheon of geo-dignitaries who have talked with James Fee (the very active @cageyjames on Twitter) of Spatially Adjusted on Hangouts with James Fee. We talked about a bunch of topics:

  •  WiFiSlam and Apple’s plans for them
  • Persistent location and where its going
  • The dreaded “Big Data” and what that means in location
  • A little baseball
  • Other geo stuff.

It’s kind of like sitting down for coffee or a beer with James and talking about stuff.  It’s an hour but hopefully reasonably entertaining.  Enjoy! Video is here.

Indoor Apple? Why Apple Bought WiFiSlam.

wifislam_logoAccording to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has bought WiFiSlam, the indoor location  company for $20M and will now presumably be working to allow Apple iOS devices to self-locate indoors to within 2.5M accuracy in real-time.  Indoor location has been an active field for a couple years and Apple’s move will keep it in line with Google who has been working on that technology for a while as well.

If it all works as advertised, WiFiSlam gives “aisle-level” accuracy fast enough to let the consumer get relevant information before he or she moves on to another aisle. That’s the “2.5m in real-time” part and is a Holy Grail of sorts for indoor positioning because of its potential for retail targeting. They use ambient wireless signals from WiFi and Bluetooth which means that you don’t need to install a bunch of extra gear. This is not easy; a lot of companies have been banging away at this for a while.

So, why did Apple want this?   Continue reading Indoor Apple? Why Apple Bought WiFiSlam.