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Google Maps vs. OpenStreetMap

Business Technology | June 1, 2012

Google has been the leader of online mapping with Google Maps for awhile. But that could change as the people behind OpenStreetmap try to compete for the title of the most-used web map service. This has created quite a stir and the company is only 8 years old!

Just like Google Maps, OpenStreetMap is a world map where users can plan directions and obtain street views of places they are curious about. It is becoming more and more popular. In March, it had almost 560,000 individual registered users.

OpenStreetMap’s Growing Popularity

At the begging of March, Apple moved from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap for its mobile software for locations outside the United States. And more recently Apple left Google Maps behind and switched to OpenStreetMap for the creation of the photos on a new photo management app for iOS. This was probably the clearest sign that OpenStreetMap could be a true challenger for Google Maps.

Other companies are making the switch as well. For example, a popular social media service, Foursquare, made the change earlier this year. So, what is the reason that OpenStreetMap is becoming so popular? One advantage that it has over Google Maps is that it enables users to update maps based upon experience. Two heads are better then one, right? And if you look at the success that Wikipedia has had with this philosophy, it points to a bright future for the fledgling digital map company.

Google No Longer Invulnerable?

It used to be that challenging Google was an unwise decision, but things have changed recently. Google has had a few shots that it has missed lately. For example, while Google+ exists, it is not real competition for Facebook, Twitter, or even Pinterest. Do you think OpenStreetMap is going to exceed Google Maps in popularity? Only time will tell.


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