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Google Open Source Wikipedia Technology

Wikipedia Mobile Apps Switch To OpenStreetMap 166

Posted by timothy
from the location-aware dept.
Techdirt reports that the latest versions of Wikipedia's mobile apps have switched to OpenStreetMap from Google Maps. Says Techdirt's commentary: "One wonders how Google didn't see this coming — or if they did, what exactly their strategy is here. OpenStreetMap is gaining a lot of momentum, and in some areas even features much better data. The real lesson here is that there's never an incumbent that isn't at risk of being unseated, no matter how widespread the adoption of their product or service—especially if they make an anti-customer decision like Google when it put a price tag on Maps. The situation also points to the long-term strength of open solutions: while a crowdsourced system like OpenStreetMap never could have put together a global mapping product as quickly as Google did, over time it has become a serious competitor in terms of both quality and convenience."
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Wikipedia Mobile Apps Switch To OpenStreetMap

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  • it's not just maps (Score:3, Insightful)

    by azery (865903) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @10:44AM (#39612315)
    The openstreetmap project does provide a fantastic result, but for me it is lacking satellite imaging (as google does) or satellite imaging and aerial pictures (as bing/microsoft does) Having the images can be very handy... I see very often people who need to determine the distance between two points and for that, the images are easier than the maps.
  • Re:Danger Google (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @10:45AM (#39612323)

    Don't worry, Google can always threaten to publish our e-mails and surfing habits if we try to move away from their products.

  • by iampiti (1059688) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @10:46AM (#39612327)
    Well I guess Google carefully considered pros and cons before charging for maps and if they didn't is their problem.
    The summary (yes, I didn't RTFA) seems to imply that the right or normal thing would be that google dominated the maps landscape. Well, obviously they have to compete with everyone else and if a decision makes them lose clients it's their problem. Maybe that loss was calculated and they calculated they'd get more benefits in the long run if they get rid of non-paying customers.
  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @10:49AM (#39612337)

    Last time I checked, maps is still free for people to use, they're just charging for commercial use, but that makes perfect sense. If you're a business, I can't see why you'd be complaining about having to pay a little something that makes it easier for your customers to find you. Nobody is forcing you to use Maps. Go ahead and switch if the expense is too much for you. As TFS states, there are other alternatives.

    Hooray for the free market!

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:00AM (#39612409) Journal

    Actually, one of the main reasons that I use an OSM app on my phone instead of the Google Maps one (aside from the fact I don't need a corporate stalker) is that it isn't serving tiles to me. I just grab the data once and store it on my phone. That means I can use the maps with my phone's GPS when I'm out of signal range (or somewhere with only GPRS signals, where using Google Maps is a bit painful) or when I'm in a different country and the data roaming charges would make it stupidly expensive.

    The OSM data is licensed in a way that allows redistribution and the project actively encourages people to do this. Clients are allowed to aggressively cache or mirror the data, something which Google or Bing maps do not allow.

  • Re:Danger Google (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:29AM (#39612545)

    Honky please.

    I'm sure Google is shaking in its shoes over yet another two open source projects doomed to failure. With rare exception, open source projects end up half assed, 90% feature complete, and skip implementation of anything difficult. The "it's good enough" approach.

    Please, show me an open source project that truly rivals Gmail. Do it. One that implements ALL of the features. Including collaborative antispam, Ajax, contacts, archiving. Come on.

    And show me how DuckDuckGo's algorithms match Google's. Oh and where's the autocomplete?

    Mod me down, you'll feel better.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @11:40AM (#39612601)

    Well, I suppose that small business will move on to one of those cheap or free alternatives, won't they?

    Google Maps is obviously more than just a map, and the fact that commercial users are so pissed off about the fact that it costs money now proves that there is substantial value in integrating Google Maps, value that they were getting gratis, otherwise they would just say "fuck it" and move on to something else without all the bitching.

    It's not like this is the first time that a commercial user has had to pay for something a private user got for free. Google's a business, too, and I'm sure that it costs them a fortune to maintain and update Maps. Maybe not $10,000 per year, per commercial license, but then again, there's a story right here on Slashdot [slashdot.org] about how Apple makes $575 per handset sold to Google's $2, and there are plenty of people that see no issue with that, so I don't understand the complaining here.

    Well, unless it's another one of those "Apple deserves to make money hand over fist, but no one else!!" opinions, but I don't bother arguing with those people because they're retarded.

  • Re:Danger Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sique (173459) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:08PM (#39612745) Homepage

    With rare exception, software projects end up half assed, 90% feature complete, and skip implementation of anything difficult. The "it's good enough" approach.

    There. Fixed thad for you.

  • Re:Danger Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:10PM (#39612755) Journal

    Please, show me an open source project that truly rivals Gmail. Do it. One that implements ALL of the features. Including collaborative antispam, Ajax, contacts, archiving. Come on.

    Do one thing, do it well. If you do things the UNIX way, you can easily beat the features and convenience of Gmail.

    And show me how DuckDuckGo's algorithms match Google's. Oh and where's the autocomplete?

    Google's results are crappy these days. And I don't need help typing, thanks.

  • Personally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LiroXIV (2362610) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:15PM (#39612775)
    I think this is more of an ideological move. Google Maps is not free content like Wikipedia itself. OpenStreetMap however, shares many of the same values as Wikipedia itself; such as its use of an environment that encourages contribution by others, the use of licensing that encourages the sharing and rebuilding of content instead of forbidding it, and so on.
  • by CaptainLard (1902452) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:17PM (#39612795)
    Not 3 stories ago we get a post about how android is not a good buisiness model because apple is making 250x as much on every i-device sold as google does on every android device (http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/12/04/08/0546247/google-earns-2-per-handset-apple-575). Perhaps suggesting that its better for business to have the walled garden approach. Now there's this story about how google is losing out because a competitor is more open. Based on that it seems google is toast because they are too open while also not open enough. Seems rough to be getting attacked from all sides but then again, consistent $billions in profit probably soften the blow.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:25PM (#39612843)

    That alone should be a reason for Wikimedia to give Google the boot.

    Wikimedia works because it treats its patrons as readers instead of mindless consumers. One might compare it to the difference between a good library and a corporate chain book store.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:53PM (#39612987) Journal

    Google Maps is obviously more than just a map, and the fact that commercial users are so pissed off about the fact that it costs money now proves that there is substantial value in integrating Google Maps, value that they were getting gratis, otherwise they would just say "fuck it" and move on to something else without all the bitching.

    The reason businesses are complaining is sunk cost. They spend money developing things using the Google Maps APIs, believing that they were free, and now they're not. Developing with OpenLayers is about as easy and confers the same advantages without needing a licensing cost, although if you're serving a lot of clients then you're expected to serve the tiles yourself, but the software is all free, it's just hardware and bandwidth costs. If Google Maps had been this expensive from the start, then it would not have been a problem - companies would have just not developed things based on it in the first place.

  • Re:Danger Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by selven (1556643) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:51PM (#39613247)

    With rare exception, projects end up half assed, 90% feature complete, and skip implementation of anything difficult. The "it's good enough" approach.

    Fixed again. cf. Sturgeon's law [wikipedia.org].

  • Re:Danger Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @04:58PM (#39614079)
    Which will last until duckduckgo starts getting more traffic than is being paid for by the ad's, and suddenly, duckduckgo becomes the next google, where the ads are compulsory. As much as we hate it, we have to realize, the ads pay for these fantastic magical services, so that you don't have to fork over 5$ or 10$ or 15$ a month to use them. Nothing is free. Ever.
  • Re:Danger Google (Score:1, Insightful)

    by tbird81 (946205) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @06:32PM (#39614559)

    Don't worry, Google can always threaten to publish our e-mails and surfing habits if we try to move away from their products.

    What?! No they can't!! How was this modded insightful?

    This place is full of pessimistic, pathologically cynical losers if they think it's that's true.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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