Google Maps and MapQuest battle for US market leadership

Google Maps and MapQuest battle for US market leadership

Despite the strong growth of portable navigation, Internet mapping sites remain very popular for trip planning, local search and written directions, and the current global number of 300 million unique visitors is expected to grow at an annual rate of 15% in the coming years.

In the US, MapQuest and Google are engaged in a fierce battle for market leadership, leaving Yahoo! Maps and Microsoft Live Search Maps trailing far behind.

"For the time being, MapQuest seems able to maintain its No.1 position in the US with more than forty million unique visitors per month by launching new interactive Map 2.0 features such as My Places," says ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte. "It allows users to set up an account and access saved locations on MapQuest's mobile application, resulting in a seamless experience."

However, Bonte adds that Google is expected to emerge as the market leader by end-2009, driven by superior virtual reality-based navigation simulation, Latitude social networking features and Google Search-generated traffic.

"All major mapping portals now also offer dynamic location content such as real-time traffic and weather," points out Bonte.

Europe shows a similar trend, with traditional regional online mapping sites such as MapQuest, Multimap, Falk, and ViaMichelin being challenged by Internet companies. In developing regions like China and Korea, Internet mapping sites face strict government regulation limiting the use of aerial imagery.

A new category of navigation and LBS portals is emerging, with both TomTom and Nokia recently announcing online route planners.

Off-board navigation providers, such as Appello and Wayfinder, have been offering online mapping portals for many years.

The fixed-mobile convergence trend will continue to drive the integration between mobile and desktop mapping for applications such as social networking and advertising. At the same time, the boundaries between fixed and mobile computing systems are blurring.


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