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The Rise of Google Maps

Speaker 1 (00:01):
There was a time when getting around was a lot more complicated. It required planning, difficult to fold maps, arguing with spouses and often needing to stop and ask for directions. But 15 years ago that changed today. Digital map apps like Google, Apple, and weighs can navigate around traffic, remind you where you parked and even notify you about natural disasters. It’s

Speaker 2 (00:22):
Hard to imagine a time before we had these

Speaker 1 (00:25):
Apps head West turn left, and Google maps is dominating. It has become essential in the daily lives of it’s over 1 billion monthly users. It’s mapped to more than 220 countries and territories, and is updated tens of thousands of times a day when maps first debuted, Google said it was designed to simplify how to get from point a to point B after a decade of investing, collecting data and billions of images. It not only dominates the navigational app market, but it’s one of the most popular smartphone apps of the last 10 years.

Speaker 2 (00:57):
There are billions of people around the world who are using these navigation apps on a, on a daily basis. And Google maps, we think is the leading player in that space.

Speaker 1 (01:08):
Google maps can provide directions. If you’re traveling by car mass, transit, walking, or biking, you can even virtually hike to the bottom of the grand Canyon. Thanks to street view. Trekker alphabet does not separately report the revenue from maps, but Morgan Stanley estimates that Google maps revenue, both from desktop local search and mobile will total more than $11 billion in 2020.

Speaker 2 (01:30):
And so if we think that over the next few years, the Google map could grow into a two, three or $4 billion of revenue on a pure multiple basis. It’s not crazy to think that the map could be worth 10 or 20 or $30 billion of revenue through that lens. Okay.

Speaker 1 (01:44):
Here’s a look at how Google maps became a huge business and transformed how we get around when Google maps first launched in 2005, it had far from a billion users and look drastically different from what it is today. In fact, its first map didn’t include much of the world.

Speaker 3 (02:05):
When you look at Google, have a core foundational goal from its birth is to be this sort of information center. Then it makes sense that they want to own a vast amount of data that they can including maps.

Speaker 2 (02:19):
Google is they start by trying to solve consumer pain points and maps and navigation is a consumer pain point.

Speaker 3 (02:28):
Google maps started as a result of acquisitions that Google made. The first one that was the most key was in 2004, it was called where two technologies. It was a converted from a web application and it became really critical to how the company would eventually make its core Google maps product from

Speaker 1 (02:49):
It also acquired keyhole, another mapping company that used satellite and aerial images to create 3d maps whose technology would later become Google earth and zip dash accompany that was using GPS to provide real time traffic information.

Speaker 4 (03:03):
Everybody was using MapQuest. So people are still printing directions out or even just getting in their car and using a paper map. And so Google maps was just a totally different way to see how to get somewhere with pretty much a a to B line with turn by turn directions.

Speaker 1 (03:17):
It’s early competitors on the web where Yahoo maps and MapQuest, which was owned by AOL then and was the category leader at the time in 2007 street view was born and the company embarked on a journey to map the entire world. Initially cars mounted with cameras drove around the streets of five us cities over the next few years. And with the help of trekkers, the street view team collected more than 170 billion images from 87 countries. Users can now see a 360 degree view at street level. And with the help of computer vision, the cameras identified street signs, speed limits, and many other pieces of information that you could not get from satellite imagery. This gave the company endless amounts of data that it now owned and helped it create very detailed and more accurate maps.

Speaker 4 (04:02):
I think Google maps street view sort of showed people this way to sort of explore the world. You could drop in and see exactly where you’re going.

Speaker 1 (04:10):
That same year. Google maps made its mobile debut on Blackberry and Palm devices, allowing users to utilize maps anywhere they have their phone, especially in cars. Google was now competing with GPS, navigational systems like Tom, Tom, and garment.

Speaker 5 (04:24):
I want to show you something truly remarkable, which is Google maps on iPhone

Speaker 4 (04:30):
In 2007, Apple launched the iPhone. So suddenly Google maps was on everybody’s phones everywhere. And that was a big difference from the maps you had on other phones. Cause there wasn’t multi-touch for pinch to zoom in and stuff like that. And it really just made Google maps spread rapidly.

Speaker 1 (04:46):
Google maps came preloaded on the iPhone in 2007 until Apple released its own map application in 2012

Speaker 5 (04:54):
[inaudible] we have built an entire new mapping solution from the ground up

Speaker 1 (04:58):
The relationship between the two companies reportedly chilled after Google added features similar to the iPhone into Android, there was also an issue of data. Apple executives were bothered by the fact that Google could see the data of iPhone users. However, the debut of Apple maps did not go as many expected

Speaker 5 (05:17):
It to me. And a lot of other people feels like a half-baked product, the data isn’t great. And it’s not the quality and the experience you would expect from an Apple product.

Speaker 4 (05:28):
The internet kind of went nuts like what is going on? All these places in the maps look like they were melting into the world like a Salvador Dali kind of painting. It was a mess.

Speaker 5 (05:39):
How big of a fiasco is Apple maps? As Tyler was just talking about it’s bad enough for CEO, Tim cook to make an apology in a letter posted on Apple’s website today, cook said, quote, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new maps, we fell short on this commitment. It’s very for Apple

Speaker 4 (05:58):
CEO, Tim cook to issue an apology for something like that.

Speaker 1 (06:01):
Hook advised users to use alternatives like ways. And even the Google website, Google had an Android app, but now needed to create an iOS version for iPhone users. It debuted in the app store three months later, uh, smartphones became more popular and users turn to mapping applications to get around. Mobile ads started to gain momentum in 2012. Mobile ads associated with maps or locations were estimated to be 25% of the roughly 2.5 billion spent on mobile ads and Google maps was already taking off by 2012. Google street view had mapped 39 countries, 3000 cities and 5 million unique miles by combining its own data licensed and user-generated data. It was now available in 187 countries and had 26 million miles of driving directions,

Speaker 6 (06:51):
That project while grand in scope and has taken a lot of our time, let us to think of something even bigger, which was to build our own maps. So we started embarking on creating our own map data, using government data, any data that we could license in and bring in to make part of our own maps, but basing it on street view.

Speaker 1 (07:07):
And while Apple struggled with its own map application, Google said it sights on its next competitor. Wait.

Speaker 6 (07:13):
So one of the main differences between Apple and Google or ways is that Apple does not own its own data. It does partner with different partners around the world to actually build its map. And so its rate of change is dependent on its partners and their ability to update their mats ways old owns our own map. We don’t use a map from a third party. So we allow users to update the data themselves

Speaker 4 (07:34):
Ways was like a social network of driving and mapping. So if you hit a traffic jam and you had a bunch of ways, users, that information was real-time data, but also everybody was able to report things like car accidents or a police officer with a speed trap. And it had this gamification thing where you would get points for sharing information and accurate information or correcting information. And so lots of people, especially commuters turn to ways and that kind of became a competitor, Google maps, and then eventually take over target.

Speaker 6 (08:03):
So we believe if you look five years out, they’re going to be two maps of the world. There’s going to be Google and there’s going to be ways there will be other maps, but in terms of the ability to update and the speed of these maps reflect the real world, we think it’s going to be the two of us,

Speaker 1 (08:16):
Apple and Facebook were rumored to be interested in the company, but Google ended up buying it for more than $1 billion in 2013.

Speaker 4 (08:23):
And then what Google did is it left ways to operate the way it does still, but then it took some of that data and brought it into Google maps. So now you can see some of the traffic data, more accurate things, whether there’s a road closure and that from ways the information is actually pulled into Google maps, for people who aren’t even using weighs, the waste has been important to Google because it’s gotten them access to a different set of consumers who perhaps were not using the Google map as frequently. It’s given them a canvas to experiment with new types of ad units that maybe show up on before

Speaker 2 (08:56):
They show up on the Google map,

Speaker 1 (08:57):
Google doesn’t disclose how much it invests in maps. We do know that data provided by Google maps. Users is incredibly valuable to a company whose main source of revenue is advertising. Google maps has been ad free for years, but in 2019 alphabet executive said that wouldn’t be the case any longer

Speaker 2 (09:14):
Google map is still the most under monetized asset that I cover. This is a utility where Google has is not yet turned on the monetization switch. You think about the idea of better integrating paid search offerings into the Google map. You think about the idea of promoted pins within the map companies like Starbucks or companies like Dunkin donuts will be very interested to show a promoted pin for where their local stores are in that city to people like myself. We’re interested in coffee. We don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that this could be a one, two, three, four, $5 billion or annual revenue opportunity for alphabet,

Speaker 1 (09:50):
But as the product has gotten more advanced and the money coming in has grown. So has the scrutiny, the internet giant has come under fire over privacy concerns after users could see their house license plate and face captured on Google maps by street view cameras driving by the company eventually began blurring out faces in 2013, it agreed to pay $7 million to settle a lawsuit. After it collected data from users like email passwords and financial information from un-encrypted wifi networks as street view, cars drove by Google admitted the mistake and said a rogue engineer was to blame MapQuest and Microsoft’s Bing maps rolled out similar features to street view and were confronted with similar privacy concerns working my way through the 64 page lawsuit that the justice department has filed against Google. And in which the department alleges that Google’s anti-competitive behavior has been going on for years, it’s still going on. And in fact, it might be getting

Speaker 3 (10:49):
Searches Google’s core business and maps is a part of search and there’ve been some subtle mentions here and there I’ve mapped specifically, and the company holding dominance with it. There were competitors early on, but now they’re also the most advanced mapping systems.

Speaker 1 (11:07):
Over the past few years, Google has added features like incognito mode to prevent searches from being saved and auto delete controls for location history and web and app activity to give users more control over their data.

Speaker 2 (11:19):
Any of the regulatory investigations around alphabet, essentially just bring to the forefront, the importance that they are protecting people’s data only using people’s data in an appropriate way, and that consumers are very aware of how their data is being used. And so when we think about that from a map perspective, it puts an even higher importance on Google’s efforts to ensure that people opt in. And ultimately it does come down to responsible management from a data perspective and just continuing to improve awareness of the data that Google is capturing through their map and how they are incorporating that into their overall advertising products.

Speaker 1 (12:01):
Google also faces growing competition

Speaker 2 (12:03):
From a competitive standpoint, there there’s still other maps players. There still is Apple map. And now you have snap map, which is being built for Snapchat and its users. And so I think from a consumer perspective, you are going to have more and more of these products that you can open to try to connect with small, medium sized businesses and try to navigate your way to them. And just the question is going to be, you know, one, how does the accuracy of the data stack up compared to Google map? How are the directions from a timing perspective stacking up and ultimately, how does the user experience evolve over time? Right?

Speaker 1 (12:36):
Sure. Apple invested billions of dollars on its map. The company announced look around a feature to compete with Google street view. It also is trying to compete on privacy in a statement earlier this year, it said it’s set out to create the best and most private maps app on the planet and rebuilt the map from the ground up and analysis of mapping apps from 2018 shows the dominance, Google maps and alphabets owned ways have over Apple and other competitors. Google maps has become much more than just a tool that gets you from point a to point B. It is used cars, people, and even camels to collect more than 170 billion images from 87 countries to keep its map up to date. As the world constantly evolves.

Speaker 4 (13:22):
I think the biggest change we’re going to see a Google maps in the coming years is the addition of augmented reality. And if people move away from smartphones to smart glasses, it needs to be this see-through augmented reality, sort of here’s how you get to that place. And that’s what I think the future of Google maps will be

Speaker 1 (13:39):
Today. Over 5 million sites and apps use Google maps. It’s also a supplier of mapping technology to companies like Uber and Lyft,

Speaker 3 (13:48):
Having so much data of existing roads, streets, traffic flow. It helps fuel Google’s AI, which is helping the companies self-driving car company, Waymo. I look at it as the company trying to dominate the self-driving car industry. And that mapping is part of that

Speaker 1 (14:07):
Among the many things you can now use Google maps for includes booking reservations and exploring neighborhoods,

Speaker 2 (14:13):
High level localized navigation data is going to become more and more valuable to all online advertising. All online companies

Speaker 1 (14:22):
During the pandemic has added over 200 new features, which include a COVID layer that shows you how many cases are in your area and trend times for shops and mass transit to help people avoid crowds.

Speaker 2 (14:33):
And you have hundreds and thousands of people driving around, walking around continuously updating the map and ensuring that, that everything in there that people see is as accurate as possible is a real competitive mode. And there’s no real sign of a letup from an investment perspective out of Google to ensure that the map cutting edge and ahead of the competitors.

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