Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Google Maps should (no: must) come to WP7

With my personal interest in maps and mapping I read the blog post about Google Maps on WP7 (using the Bing Maps Silverlight control) by LocalJoost with great interest.

He mentioned a lot of pageviews to this post shortly after posting it, and I just saw him tweet about his post being picked up on by

I think it's great that did pick up on this. However, I do not agree at all with the first part of the possibly meant to be funny footnote by Daniel Rubino:

Yeah, I know. Who would want to use Google Maps when Bing kicks so much butt? [...]

I suspect that Daniel is both Microsoft biased (not really a problem for me) and not based in the Netherlands, because even though I hear a lot of positive things about Bing Search and Bing Maps, I keep comparing it to Google Search and Google Maps and have not switched yet.

To be frank and rather blunt about it: Bing can't stand in the shadow of Google. Or at least it cannot in the Netherlands, which happens to be where I live and use these services almost exclusively.

Before anyone starts comparing actual mobile client features I want to point out that this is mainly related to (probably) legal and data issues and not to the technology. I just have the feeling Google in general "finds more" for me, gives me more useful results. Also, I like the visual style of Google Maps more than that of Bing Maps at the moment, but that could just take some getting used too.

So for now I'll take Google over Bing any way I can get it. And that includes a Google Maps client for WP7, preferably written by Google itself and including all the official Google Maps features.

Google, are you listening...?


  1. the coverage of each country does vary with Bing and if Google is better for you it's better for you - but do we have to be Microsoft biased to prefer Bing? I don't know where Daniel is based, but in the UK Bing is as good as and (IMHO) better than Google Maps. Bing has never sent me right rather than left when making the last turn in the directions, which has happened with Google Maps in London, Las Vegas and Calais (at 4am in the morning, so it stuck with me).

    I don't hold a brief to defend Microsoft, but I'm always curious why liking a Microsoft product is so often seen as a bias or a naivety.

  2. Mary, I must admit reading your comment showed me what a trap assumptions can be.

    I know too that Bing coverage varies by country, but for some reason I obviously assumed that only the US would get the rave Bing review (because of coverage) just because I personally think Bing in the Netherlands is still a bit like vacuum cleaner (as compared to Google). Apparently that is not true, judging from your comment.

    Everybody should choose their app of preference, based on the things that matter to him/her. But of course for that choice to be there (on WP7) Google should get it's backside in gear to get a Google Maps for WP7 into the world. And soon, if they want people to use it.

  3. peSHIr,

    You are absolutely right on the coverage count. I live in Cyprus and Bing only go as far as show me the city I live in; this is Strovolos, Cyprus. By contrast, Google, (now) even has the street I live in! Considering that my country is a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean, the level of detail that Google Maps provides is quite good. And I don't think Microsoft is updating Bing Maps for Cyprus anytime soon, so Google Maps seems like the obvious (and right now the only choice) for me. marypcb, please remember that USA is not the only country on this planet!

    Regards from small Cyprus,
    the sunny island!

  4. Bing seems to be catching up: I keep using Bing Search on my phone more and more (even if only because that's what's under the Search button), only explicitly going back to Google (either through Google Search WP7 app or the mobile website) when that does not find me what I expect/want.

    If Google ignores this even longer and Microsoft improves the services used in Mango more (=getting all the announced services to the Netherlands and keep improving the data here), I'd say Google might lose me in the mobile search and business.

    So I repeat: "Google, are you listening?" (probably too busy buying Motorola, so I'm not betting they are...)