First, there were Google Maps. Google Maps were the number one maps that people everywhere used when searching for a map of most kinds. Even Apple used Google Maps in order to provide iOS users with some kind of mapping program. Now, Microsoft, Apple, and even Amazon are attempting to take over the mapping game with mapping programs of their own. Amazon is the latest company to focus on maps, GPS, and all things 3D mapping related.
Reportedly, Amazon has acquired a company called UpNext, that happens to specialize in 3D mapping. UpNext is a recent startup that Amazon will be fortunate to hitch its growing start to. With Amazon’s recent release of the Kindle Fire and other devices, a mapping program that’s not from a third party simply makes a good deal of sense.
What UpNext Maps Look Like
If you currently have an iPhone, go ahead and download the UpNext iOS app. You’ll quickly see that these maps are nothing like Google’s maps. UpNext creates maps that are in 3D format, and looking at one of these maps is kind of like looking at a cartoon map. Users can navigate entire neighborhoods from an eagle-eye view, choose a direct spot, and then learn about that spot by clicking on it. Still not sure how UpNext works? Here’s the example that UpNext showcases in video form on the company’s website.
Let’s say that you want to meet your friends for dinner at a restaurant in a specific neighborhood. If you were to open up the UpNext app, you would be able to enter an address or area, and then look at a 3D map of that area. While scanning the map, you can tap on any building that you see and view information about that business. In the case of a restaurant, you would see the name of the establishment and even read a Yelp review of the place. You can also search for businesses with UpNext by typing in the type of business that you want to find or, in the case of food, the type of cuisine you want to locate. UpNext has a beautiful interface, crystal clear maps that are fun to navigate, and plenty of appeal. So, it’s no wonder that Amazon would want to purchase this startup.
What’s The Next Step for Amazon?
Now that Amazon has purchased UpNext, the company will likely be creating its own mapping program for upcoming Amazon devices. Companies like Amazon (including Apple) have figured out that maps are what users love most, and providing users with maps form a third-party such as Google just won’t cut it any longer. Now that Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google all have mapping programs, it will be interesting to see what maps users like best. Amazon is set to release some new devices within the next few months, and it’s safe to assume that a new mapping system created by Amazon will be included with these devices.
The GPS and mapping competition is certainly heating up with Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple wanting a piece of the pie. The question is: will these companies be able to beat Google at what the search giant does best? Only time will tell, it seems.