One autumn afternoon last year, I was driving to meet some friends at a restaurant that was new to me. I typed the address into my iPhone (News - Alert), which had just been updated with iOS 6 and the new Apple Maps app.
Twenty minutes later, when Siri proclaimed, “Your destination is on the left,” I was driving along a road in a completely different town. I saw no restaurant on my left, only a brown barn and some cows.
As I kept using the app, I realized that when I looked at the map on my iPhone screen while using Apple Maps, everything was generally okay. Of course, the whole point of the voice integration is to make sure that you aren’t staring at your smartphone screen while you’re driving down the interstate. So I tried relying on Siri.
The second time Siri deposited me in a field on the outside of town, the ground was covered in snow, my car was almost completely out of gas and no one else was in sight. I suspected she might be trying to kill me.
Eventually, I figured out that Siri had nothing against me personally. Apple (News - Alert) Maps has performed horrendously for a lot of drivers.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has the company intently focused on fixing the Maps app. Apple has made significant upgrades to its flyover capabilities for cities all over the U.S., Canada and Europe.
The company has also made significant upgrades for maps in China and Japan. Improved pronunciation and characters, 3D buildings and additional roads have improved the experience for users overseas.
For my part, I’ve switched to Google Maps. According to The Wall Street Journal, so have a lot of other people. Ten million people downloaded the Google (News - Alert) Maps app the first two days of its availability last December.
The navigation is easier to see, and the voice integration, while not interactive, is far more pleasant than Siri’s grating monotone that pronounces every other street incorrectly.
Google Maps for Android (News - Alert) has more features than the iOS version. For instance, if you have an Android device and you find yourself lost in the mall, Google Maps actually produces an interior mall map so that you can find your way around.
I hope Apple does continue to improve Maps, but Siri will have a hard time convincing me to come back. She’s a lousy navigator. And frankly, I’m a little bit afraid of her.
Edited by Brooke Neuman