So, Google Maps Navigation has launched and shares in sat-nav companies have already collapsed – following my sharedealing friend’s famous edict that you don’t want to launch any product that Google can march into. But I’m not so sure what they’re worried about.
I used Google Maps on my Android phone a while ago to try and drive to a remote location. Sure, the interface was incredibly clunky and it wasn’t the best set-up in the world – but I’d have been fine with that if it ACTUALLY WORKED. Ironically, while my phone had a GPS lock throughout the journey, it spent ages vainly looking for a data signal.
No doubt Google can improve on the user interface and speed of the application – but unless Google suddenly have powers to swamp the entire continent or planet with a coherent data signal, there’s still going to be a lot of room for a “traditional” satellite navigation company. Because when you’re lost, the last thing you want to find is that your freebie Google Maps device can’t tell you where you are either because it can’t download the relevant map of your location.