If you are one of the many, excited new users of iPhoto for iOS that was just released yesterday, then you may have noticed that some of the map features don’t have that traditional, Google Maps look to them. That’s because they are not Google Maps. They are based on a platform using OpenStreetMap combined with Apple’s own map tiles.
From OpenStreetMap’s blog today:
“Yesterday Apple launched iPhoto, its photo management app, for the iPad and iPhone… and we’re rather pleased to find they’re the latest to switch to OpenStreetMap.
The desktop version of iPhoto, and indeed all of Apple’s iOS apps until now, use Google Maps. The new iPhoto for iOS, however, uses Apple’s own map tiles – made from OpenStreetMap data (outside the US).”
Since 2009, Apple has been acquiring mapping technology like Placebase, Poly9 and C3 Technologies. Presumably, the company has been looking for an alternative mapping service to Google’s, since the two are operating system rivals. However, Google Maps is the most widely used mapping service around and Apple probably realized that its users would be comfortable with its familiarity.
It appears that it is time for a change. This minor step away from Google Maps is likely to be one of many that Apple will take to wean its iOS users away from the Android creators.
Apple isn’t the only company that is moving away from Google Maps. Social networking website Foursquare also recently moved to another mapping service using OpenStreetMaps for its data. Real estate company StreetEasy did the same this past January. It looks like Google Maps is losing its shininess among those needing mapping services in the digital world.