I know you’re tired of reading about the iPhone, but hear me out; this isn’t really about the iPhone. It’s about local search.
The fight to win Local Search is still young. ComScore had Yahoo and Google neck and neck 9 months ago with about 29% share each. And then two Hitwise reports this year — one in March and one in June — showed Google Maps increasing traffic thanks to Universal Search/Onebox changes.
But if Google Maps ends up winning this fight, we might point to this past Friday as the reason. That, of course, is the day the iPhone hit the street. And those streets are mapped by Google Maps. And by nearly all accounts, everyone loves Google Maps on the iPhone. Here’s what iPhone owners and reviewers, from the BBC to tech blogs to college students, are saying about Google Maps on the iPhone:
“The Google Maps application has functionality I have never seen before and is again another amazing application as far as eye candy goes.” — ZDNet
“The integrated applications — including Google Maps… — are great.” — PC World
“Voice mail … and Google Maps are ridiculously useful.” — TIME magazine
“I could use the Google Maps app forever.” — Jason Kottke
“Google Maps is nice, though it would have been great to have GPS.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“I’ve already used Google Maps through downtown Orlando. The interface is easy to understand, multitouch works as billed.” — Computerworld
“Google Maps is surprisingly responsive….” — Unofficial Apple Weblog
“… you can pinch to zoom in and out of either Google Maps views. This is fantastic.” — Unofficial Apple Weblog
“The practical applications, such as calendar, Google Maps, contacts and so forth, are better than the Palm OS ever delivered.” — ZD Net
“The google maps interface was very cool, it automatically loads traffic data onto the map.” — On Milwaukee
“The map interacts well with the calling functions as you can find a point of interest and ring it in just a few taps. We also like that you can get the Google satellite view.” — CNET
“Google Maps worked well, especially with multitouch enabling you to pinch/zoom in and out of maps and satellite image.” — SmartPhoneToday
“The Google maps feature works very well on the EDGE network or using a Wi-Fi connection.” — ASU Web Devil
“Google maps does what Google Maps does. The iPhone version is a very slick port and works well with the touchscreen.” — BBC
“The seamless integration of the Internet, iPod, Maps, Phone, and email functions flaunted in the commercials is no exaggeration.” — PC Magazine
Client Ecker at Ars Technica was somewhat less enthused — “While slick, the Google Maps application is a little difficult to navigate in parts.” — but among all the reviews I’ve read, his was a rare, non-glowing mention of Google Maps on the iPhone.
Back in January when the iPhone was announced, I amended one of my 2007 predictions and said the iPhone might be the best thing that ever happened to mobile web browsing. It looks like it’s also going to be the best thing that ever happened to Google Maps, and could be the weapon that wins Google the local search/maps fight.