updated 11:36 am EDT, Mon September 24, 2012
iOS Maps tech still distant from Google level, source comments
Apple is actively recruiting people with Google Maps experience to work on the iOS 6 Maps app, a source says. The person reportedly has connections with both teams, and goes into detail, noting that Apple is specifically targeting people who are/were working on contract with Google, rather than permanently. "Many" of the prospective hires are said to be eager to join Apple, since Google Maps generally only requires minor updates while iOS 6 Maps is a new product.
The source explains that he learned of the shift during his own time as a Google Maps contractor; he was hired as part of a Google effort to integrate Street View and new third-party data to improve European coverage, as well as develop turn-by-turn navigation. Around the time Google switched its focus to indoor mapping, many of the source's peers are said to have become bored, which Apple seized on with its recruiters. At least one coworker is being offered a salary in excess of $85,000, plus money to cover all expenses for relocating from the east coast.
Apple has had iOS Maps-related job listings in place for many months, but may be especially worried about trying to copy Google Maps now, in light of user frustrations with iOS 6. The new firmware completely ditches Google content, which has led to graphics glitches, inaccurate data, and missing features, namely replacements for Street View and integrated public transit directions.
"Apple has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to build a robust mapping platform to counter Google Maps, so it doesn't surprise me that it's going out of its way to lure former and current Google Maps employees," the source remarks. "At Google Maps, we know what data's important, rendering priorities, keyword searches, and how the user experience is suppose to be. However, Apple needs to find a way to get its own 5 million miles of street view data, partner with the right folks, and spend a fortune on licensed data -- which it can."