Providers of maps and personal navigation devices have a really hard time competing against Google, not only because the search giant’s maps are very accurate, but also because they are offered at no cost.
TomTom has made a name for itself over the years with the help of the mapping products it created. When Apple ditched Google Maps in 2012, it was TomTom it turned to. Well, that’s not a particularly cheerful thing to bring to mind, as at that time Apple Maps weren’t exactly accurate. deCarta, on the other hand, specializes in mapping software and local search. The solution resulting from this collaboration will tackle, among others, connected mapping and navigation, local search and real-time traffic.
In an interview with Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land, Kim Fennell, CEO of deCarta pointed out that the mapping product made in collaboration with TomTom is very flexible and permits customization to a higher degree than Google Maps. Keep in mind that the products these two companies are currently working on are not for consumers, or at least not directly for them. Instead, developers and business such as car makers, carriers, device makers are targeted as the main customers.
This is TomTom’s statement regarding the newly launched product line: “As well as integrating TomTom’s existing navigation software and service products, such as NavKit, NavKit Worker and NavCloud, customers and developers can now integrate TomTom’s online turn-by-turn navigation. This also includes TomTom’s latest maps, real-time traffic, best-in-class routing, a comprehensive search function and easy-to-use software development kits.
TomTom’s new online navigation service enables mobile device vendors and web service providers to provide online mapping and navigation applications that don’t require an offline map. The new service is also well-suited for products in the emerging wearables and internet-of-things product categories.”
Fennell is confident about their product’s success: “In August we replaced Google local search on Blackberry phones in 122 countries and we just replaced Bing at OnStar.” It’s interesting how he doesn’t regard Microsoft as competitor, saying that only TomTom, Nokia and Google are fighting for the supremacy. I don’t know how Microsoft’s mapping software looks like in cars, but the desktop version of Bing Maps is actually quite decent, and I wouldn’t hurry to dismiss it so easily.