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Google Maps has been constantly becoming increasingly Indian by the day. In an effort to have better out reach for Indian audiences, Google Maps now offers turn by turn support in Hindi as well as accepting voice commands in Hindi. Instead of pronouncing “marg” as “marge”, we hope it works out like letting users feel it’s designed in India itself. Unlike other apps invented for just announcing that they are invented, such as farming help and advice apps by the Government of India, Google Maps in India opens doors to a much larger population. Almost all Uber or Ola Cabs maintain the monopoly of Google Maps. These apps offer their own navigation solutions and maps in the app itself, but most drivers carry two smart phones, including one which displays Google Maps, which by far is more accurate than its competitors.
Even auto drivers are not left behind. Several startups have attempted and some are still running a similar service, except for auto rickshaws. The entire population still relies on word of mouth or their memory for directions. This move can begin their process of inclusion in the digital world, in a way that actually works to support a “Digital India”. Maps have revolutionized the way we perceive travelling. From providing access to previously unfamiliar directions, opening doors for alternate routes, traffic alerts, odd time travelling safety and just shortening distances, turn by turn navigation is possibly the most advantageous everyday sue for everyone.
Personally, I dislike Google Maps for its fake offline use. Google Maps doesn’t really offer offline features yet – which is disheartening because the technology already exists and has been in use for several years now. While users can download a specific route’s map including turn by turn directions on the WiFi and then run it without using the ridiculously expensive data packs, it remains impractical for most purposes. I use Sygic MapMyIndia’s 100% offline maps, which is a huge one time paid app (over 1.5GB!), but worthwhile in the long run. From providing turn by turn instructions completely without internet throughout India, I am happy to save on battery life, money and web usage on better things for my Smartphone.
For Google, India is a tough market to crack. India has prohibited street view, thus making you reach accurately to one’s house impossible. You can only reach an approximate area instead of directly to your doorstep. India doesn’t have street names either as common as western countries do, so Google improvised to add the ability to mark landmarks making directions easier. Further, the “Digital India” campaign collided with the “Make in India” campaign to raise eyebrows over a very controversial bill which may possibly lead to the end of third party maps altogether, unless they pay a huge amount of licensing.
Read all about it here: Modi Govt Proposes Bill for Possible End of GPS Maps including Google Maps, Uber & Ola
Stand alone navigation devices are losing their potential and sales. Currently, it simply doesn’t make sense to buy one, since offline apps are already available and chances are you’re already using a smartphone. Close rivals such as Apple Maps, which tried to break the monopoly of Google Maps during that time has failed miserably to provide accurate data, especially so in India. It’s very difficult for someone to now get stranded on the road thanks to such technologies.
Which map do you use on your smartphone and why? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India