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Apple Maps three times more likely to get you lost than Google Maps

December 20, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • In the U.S., Apple Maps has a 3.1% major error rate and a 30% major error rate in the U.K.
In the U.S., Apple Maps has a 3.1% major error rate and a 30% major error rate… (Crowdflower )

How helpful is Apple Maps? Not very, according to a company that found Apple Maps is three times more likely to get someone lost than Google Maps.

Most generally regard Google Maps as the superior software, but the crowdsourcing company Crowdflower decided to take a look at the data and figure out how exactly the two softwares, and Bing, compare.

Specifically, Crowdflower set out to answer how often each service will get you to the right location. To find out, the company took a look at directions to 1,000 businesses in the U.S. and another 100 in the U.K.

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The company used its resources to go to the website of each business and find the address listed. Crowdflower then went to each mapping service and searched the business name and the city it's in. The company was looking for two things: Does the mapping service give a result, and is the result accurate?

In the first category, Google led the way in the U.S., finding 89% of the businesses. Bing followed with 79% and Apple Maps with 74%.

For U.K. businesses, Google also got the best results with 91%, followed by Bing's 57% and Apple Maps with 47%.

"In the U.K., the phone book starts to look like a real option," Crowdflower said regarding Apple Maps' low coverage of businesses there.

But getting a result is one thing and getting an accurate result is another. Apple Maps had the highest major error rate of the three services. Crowdflower said it considered it a major error when the search result was off by more than a block from the intended business.

Apple Maps scored a 3.4% major error rate in the U.S. while Google Maps had a 1.1% rate and Bing a 1.3% rate. But in the U.K., Apple's major error rate skyrockets to 30% while the two other maps services stay below 5%.

"There’s a decent chance Apple Maps will send you in the wrong direction," Crowdflower said, adding that "you’re three times as likely to be sent on a wild goose chase with Apple Maps."

All in all, users have an 88% chance of getting an accurate result using Google Maps in the U.S., a 78% chance using Bing and a 71% chance with Apple Maps. In the U.K., you still have an 88% chance of getting a good listing with Google Maps while your chances with Bing fall to 55% and 33% for Apple Maps.

"Apple Maps in the U.S. is bad enough to be noticeable," Crowdflower said. "You probably won’t throw away your iPhone, although you may miss a dinner reservation."

Apple hasn't responded to requests for comment.

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