For the first time, I opted-in to mobile location tracking last week on my iPhone to get directions for my road trip from Huntington Beach, Calif., to Wyoming. Allow me to refer back to a SearchBlog article that ran July 31, pointing to survey findings from PunchTab identifying the top reasons that consumers agree to mobile location tracking. The trip was my reason. It worked out well, for the most part, but the mapping applications didn't offer an overlay of local businesses on my way. Huge disappointment. Here's why.
If you recall, the finding reveals that 50% of consumers expressed privacy concerns as a reason for not wanting brands to track their locations. About 27% are likely to allow tracking for the right benefits. That tracking for me includes Google Maps and Apple iPhone services. This time I took a chance and turned on location tracking.
Have you ever opened the Apple mapping app to see what companies provide the data? In Apple's app, property parcel data comes from CoreLogic, business listing data from Acxiom, Factual, map data from Getchee, Intermap, LeadDog. Business listings from Localeze. And satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe and portions from Microsoft.
A combination of mapping programs helped us get from one location to the next, but one huge missing option in the mapping apps, in my opinion, is the need for better integration with local listings. I want to plot my trip and see on the map local business and identify the distance to the next gas station. I don't want to see local listings in the sidebar -- I want to see them in the map. It should look similar to the way it appears on my car's navigation system, an overlay of business listings on the map.
Mike Blumenthal, founder of Understanding Google Places, Local Search, said Google Maps, allows users to ask questions like where's the closest hospital to your location, but it doesn't anticipate questions, similar to Google Now. "You can go into Google search and voice query the question," such as the closest hospital to Smoot, Wyoming, but that means toggling between Maps and Search apps.
Similarly, Marty Weintraub, aimClear founder, said Android devices have a drop-down menu that provides options for restaurants, coffee bars, gas stations, ATMs, but nothing that points out these businesses are on your way.
In July, Google Maps introduced a small but significant update to Google Maps that allowed users to measure the exact distance between two or more points on a map. It would help to have on mobile to plot land, but it's only available on desktop today.