When Apple Maps first launched, it was a joke. A lack of features, sketchy data, and oftentimes just plain wrong directions left it floundering in the wake of the far superior Google Maps.
That’s no longer the case, with Apple Maps improving leaps and bounds since then. It’s now a perfectly respectable app, an industry leader in some aspects – but overall, Google still takes the cake, largely thanks to the quality of its mapping data.
Apple is keen to make up lost ground though, as a new report indicates the company has requested government permission to conduct experimental drone flights outside of the usual flight regulations. It confirmed that camera-equipped drones would be used to collect data to improve Apple Maps.
For those worried about the creepy implications of Apple sending drones with cameras out into the world, rest assured that the company has reiterated its stance on privacy. Similarly to how Google anonymizes footage taken for its Street View feature, Apple has promised to blur all faces and number plates captured by its camera before using them in any public way in the Maps app.
This is a good signal of intent from Apple and shows it’s not giving up on competing with Google in the Maps game. Competition can only be a good thing, as it will force both companies to strive to create better services – benefitting users everywhere.