“In early 2017, a conversation with yet another Waze fanboy finally nudged me to start a navigation app experiment. I was skeptical that the Alphabet owned company could meaningfully best its parent’s home grown Google Maps,” Artur Grabowski writes for Arturrr. “I was also curious whether Apple Maps had discovered competence since its iOS 6 release.”
“I thus set out to answer three questions: Which navigation app estimates the shortest travel time? How does each app over/underestimate travel times? Which navigation app actually gets you to your destination most quickly?” Grabowski writes. “This exercise lasted the majority of 2017 and led me to dread almost any car trip due to the self imposed data gathering tasks that came with it. Nonetheless, my wife and I persevered, and I hope this data serves the community well.”
“Relative to Google Maps, Apple Maps estimated trip times were on average 8% longer (i.e worse) and Waze estimates are 3% shorter (i.e. better),” Grabowski writes. “Using Apple Maps, I on average arrived 1% faster than initially estimated, versus 2% slower with Google Maps and 11% slower with Waze. In other words, Apple sandbags its estimates so that users on average arrive at the predicted time or slightly sooner. Google and Waze are overly optimistic in their predictions and thus their users arrive later than expected.”
“If you want to get to your destination most quickly, use Google Maps,” Grabowski writes. “If you want an accurate prediction from your navigation app to help you arrive at your destination on time, use Apple Maps. If thinking you’ll get to your destination quickly helps to ease your commuter anxiety, use Waze.”
Much more in the full article – very highly recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: We commend Arthur for undertaking and completing such an arduous test!
Note that all of the data was collected in the San Francisco Bay Area, so, for the hundreds of millions outside that area, your mileage will vary.
Bottom line: Apple Maps was saddled with a poor first impression because Apple screwed up and didn’t release it with a “beta” tag. Apple Maps is better than its reputation suggests. If you haven’t tried Apple Maps lately, give it a try! If you have an Apple Watch, especially, you’ll want to give Apple Maps another chance.
As Arthur writes, “Waze (Alphabet) makes money through ads when you use their app. What better way to get people to use your navigation app than by over-promising short trip times when no one takes the time to record data and realize that you under-deliver? If an unsuspecting user opens Apple Maps and sees a 34-minute route and compares that to 30-minutes in Waze, the deed is done. Now Waze has a life-long customer who doesn’t realize they’ve been hoodwinked and Waze can throw at them stupidly annoying ads.”
[Attribution: MacStories. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]