Ronnie05's Blog

Does Apple need to change course its philosophy of exclusivity?

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on September 26, 2012

Apple’s map muddle may not have caused any dent in what is increasingly becoming the most successful smartphone of all times– iPhone5. However, it manages to put up a question – can Apple have all of the content cake and eat it too? Presently that is what Apple is setting itself out to do. Apple’s strategy of keeping all external influences out of the confines of its walled garden is beginning to hurt it simply because Apple cannot master all the tools and tricks in the business. The Maps showcased in iOS6 are not as good as Google and no matter what much Apple puts an effort in making it better in a hurry, Google has an edge that has been painstakingly built over the last 3-4 years. Apple’s spectacular success with devices naturally led to the temptation of a network-effects empire i.e controlling all the aspects of service, content and delivery. To such empires, maps are just too important as a way to gather information about users and hit them with ads and e-commerce opportunities. The good side of this is that where Apple can exercise proper control on great content, the experience is simply incredible. The flip to it is that, there will be slips and errors – especially in the content business, which Apple doesnot so much as own fully.

Apple for a while managed to tame the power of content and make it subservient, but that day is coming to an end. ( ex.Flash versus Apple). In such a world, Apple will have to change. To maintain its position, the company will have to focus more on giving its devices superb access to content it doesn’t control and hasn’t approved. Apples’ dogged and quixotic quest for control on the eco-system, my lead it to block more realistic and better solutions that emerge on the open Internet. There is leaf out of the book of Amazon that Apple could take a learning from (managing the eco-system).

Google Innovates on Maps to show highway and arterial traffic

Posted in Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on August 26, 2009

Google MapsGoogle Maps Will Now Show You Traffic Conditions on Back Roads

Google Maps added another nifty feature that will show live traffic conditions on arterial roads (non-highway roads) in selected cities. Google Maps will also show traffic patterns on main highways as well, helping see the least-trafficked route is for commute between two points.

To enable this feature, the user needs to zoom-in on the city and click the “Traffic” button in the upper-right corner of the map. This will give the traffic conditions of both arterial roads and highways. The colors correspond to the speed of traffic green is little to no traffic, yellow is medium congestion, red is heavy congestion, and red/black is stop-and-go traffic.

Google says that this feature can also be accessed on Google Maps for Mobile, which is particularly useful when trying to figure out the best route on the go. Google also shed a little bit of light as to how they crowdsource traffic info via Google Maps on mobile phones. On enabling Google Maps with My Location, the phone sends anonymous bits of data back to Google describing how fast the user is  moving. When Google combines travelling speed with the speed of other phones on the road, across thousands of phones moving around a city at any given time, they can get an idea of traffic live conditions. They continuously combine this data and send it back to you for free in the Google Maps traffic layers.

Google assures users that they only use anonymous speed and location information to calculate traffic conditions, and only do so when the user has opted to enable location services on his or her phone.

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