How important is mapping?

… it emerged that Google Maps on iOS has only around 100m active users, out of a little over 400m iPhones and 650m total iOS devices in use today. This points both to the power of defaults and to the fact that, as I suggest here, maps in general probably aren’t as universal a use case as one might think. 

(From Benedict Evans)

These numbers don’t reflect map users — they just reflect map app users. If I stay in San Francisco, I rarely need to use a maps app (I know my town, I don’t need directions) but I can’t get away from maps on OpenTable, on Strava, on Instagram, on Swarm. These maps are important because location is important, and apps can’t tap into my eyes to identify the cross street.

I’m not sure the import for Google Services though; getting directions (with routing and traffic) seems to be the hardest part of Google Maps to replicate. Geocoding is a relatively simple problem; if good geocoding does most of what’s required for a mapping service, then replacing Google Maps (and probably all of Services) is a much simpler problem.



I’m a senior product manager for OpenTable’s consumer products. I focus on major features, including our loyalty program, diner profiles, social integrations, and new business exploration.