Uber data base was once used to pick best navigation app: Apple Maps, Google Maps or Waze?

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If you were a baseball fan in New York during the 1950s, you probably had many arguments over who was the best centerfielder in the city. Was it the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle, the Dodgers’ Duke Snider, or the Giants’ Willie Mays? These days, we have a different three-way battle which is not an argument over ballplayers but is an argument over which free mapping and navigation app is the best. Is it Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps?
An ex-Uber employee by the name of Flo Crivello, who worked as Head of Product at the company, posted an interesting tweet. While he was at Uber, they used the firm’s massive database of millions of trips by Uber drivers to do some research. The data contained the starting and ending points of each journey, which navigation app was used, and how long each trip took to complete. The company wanted to know which of the three aforementioned navigation and mapping apps had the best directions.

The results? Apple Maps was number one followed by Google Maps with Uber last “by far,” says Crivello. He does note that the test was run eight years ago and says that he “wouldn’t be surprised if these rankings were different today.” The Uber driver app doesn’t offer drivers Apple Maps as an option, but back in the day, the driver app didn’t come with built-in navigation and it was left to the driver to select any one he wanted to use.

Crivello says that part of the research was to see which of the apps people thought was worst and it was in the completely opposite order meaning that most expected Waze to be best, Google Maps to be next, and Apple Maps to be the worst. In his tweet, Flo wrote, “We understood why Apple Maps got a bad rap given how bad it was at launch — it rapidly got better, but the brand stuck. Waze was more of a mystery, and we ended up realizing that people thought its routes were best because it was exposing them to so much info on traffic, construction, police presence etc…”

Speaking about Waze, Crivello says, “Everyone thinks they want a minimalist UI, but in practice, when they see all this info, they subconsciously conclude ‘wow, these guys really have their shit together’ — even when the routes were actually the worst ones.”




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