Tag Archives: Techcrunch

Wikipedia Announces That It Will Also Ditch Google Maps For OpenStreetMap

Image representing Wikipedia as depicted in Cr...

Earlier this month, I published a post about Apple and other companies ditching Google Maps for a free open source mapping project called OpenStreetMap – to catch up on that post, please click here.

Today, Wikipedia announced that it too will be ditching Google Maps and replacing it with OpenStreetMap. This is great news for the crowdsourced mapping project which is getting better by the day and gaining more support from major companies.

In updates it released today, Wikipedia says that it is releasing an all new application for the iPhone and it’s removing Google Maps to replace it with OpenStreetMap on the Android – which to me is a perfect match. Wikipedia is a high quality free crowdsourced site and OpenStreetMap functions in the same way but for maps. It’s a match that is meant to be and the Wikimedia Foundation acknowledged this in a statement:

“Previous versions of our application used Google Maps for the nearby view. This has now been replaced with OpenStreetMaps – an open and free source of Map Data that has been referred to as ‘Wikipedia for Maps.’ This closely aligns with our goal of making knowledge available in a free and open manner to everyone. This also means we no longer have to use proprietary Google APIs in our code, which helps it run on the millions of cheap Android handsets that are purely open source and do not have the proprietary Google applications.”

Their motivation for moving away from Google Maps doesn’t seem to be about price though, which was the reason other companies have ditched Google Maps. They say it’s more about reaching a greater number of people and making themselves more accessible.

For more information:

The Next Web, “Wikipedia updates iOS and Android apps, ditches Google Maps…” – click here

TPM, “Wikipedia Drops Google Maps For OpenStreetMap” – click here

TechCrunch, “Wikipedia’s Mobile Apps Drop Google Maps for OpenStreetMap” – click here

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Google Engineer: “Google Is The Biggest Data Collector In The World, Period”

Big Brother 2007 (UK)

Google is currently struggling with a brain drain as many of its employees are departing the company to found their own companies and to take advantage of better opportunities at emerging companies. Recently, Google’s very first employee, Craig Silverstein, left the company to pursue a more fulfilling career. Some Google employees are leaving because they feel that Google has changed over the years. This is definitely how a former Google executive, James Whittaker, felt when he left Google earlier this year.

In a blog post, Mr. Whittaker said that Google became more about chasing after Facebook and competing for precious advertising dollars – Google became less about maintaining a great internal culture and ethical business standards. Google is now willing to say and do anything to further itself in a competitive industry, which means that the company couldn’t care less about your privacy. Google’s number one customers are the advertisers. Google makes over 90% of its revenues from advertising – it is by far the world’s most intrusive company on the Internet. Google is able to track our web movements on literally millions of websites, without our knowledge or consent.

However, not all Google employees are happy about what Google is doing with our personal data. Some Google employees refuse to take part in something that is against their personal ethics. Former Google engineers Brian Kennish and Austin Chau founded Disconnect. Their new company’s mission is to give Internet users back control of their personal data.

Mr. Kennish says that Google is the biggest collector of personal data in the world – bar none – and this disturbed him enough that he decided to leave the company to work on a project that limits online tracking. He first got started with the Disconnect project while working at Google. He read an article about the lack of privacy on the Internet and how tracking companies are spying on our web surfing. He went home and created a browser extension that blocked third party tracking on Facebook.

He later quit his job at Google – this eventually led him to found his new company and expand services to block tracking on more websites, including Google. I have written on here several times before that Google is the biggest of the Big Brothers. This means that Google knows a lot about you. Google offers many products and services (YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, Google Search, Android, etc), this company is everywhere. On top of all this, Google has tracking devices all over the Internet – this means that even if you’re not on a Google owned website Google can still track you!

This is disturbing! Google’s new more intrusive privacy policy will allow the company to track you even more closely. At least there are some Google employees who aren’t afraid to speak up and do what’s right. Let’s hope that more Google employees find the courage to do what is right.

The video below is presentation by Brian Kennish – it’s definitely worth watching (pay especial attention at 10:00 – 10:33 mark in the video – this has happened!)

For more information:

ITProPortal, “Ex-Google Staff Working To Disconnect Surfers From Data Tracking” – click here

TechCrunch, “Disconnect: Ex-Googlers Raise Funding To Stop Google…” – click here

Nasdaq, “Google’s VP Of Product Management Leaving To Launch Startup” – click here

ITWorld, “How to get off Google for good” – click here

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Apple Tells Google Maps To Take A Hike

English: Wordmark of Google Maps

Apple tells Google: ‘so long suckas!’

The most valuable company in the world has finally ditched Google Maps for good. Apple is no longer depending on Google to provide its iPhones and iPads mapping technology – instead the company is now using a free source to replace Google Maps.

The Google Maps API used to be available to companies free of charge, but after Google got all big and mighty it decided to charge companies for high-volume use. Apple wasn’t going to let Google gouge them anymore and is now using OpenStreetMap.

OpenStreetMap is an open source mapping project that lets users from around to world to freely edit and add to the development of the map. It’s like the Wikipedia of mapping and many people depend on it to find their way around the globe. You might also recall that OpenStreetMap was at the center of a major controversy surrounding Google recently. It was discovered that Google employees were vandalizing OpenStreetMap by changing information so that it gave people wrong directions. After the founders of OpenStreetMap saw what was happening, they wrote a blog post about it. To read more about this, click here.

Now, why would Google employees allegedly deliberately sabotage OpenStreetMap? That’s because the community supported mapping service is a huge competitor to Google and may completely take over Google soon. Big companies are already switching to this free crowdsourcing service and this will eventually result in improvements to OpenStreetMap. Wikipedia has proven to be a very useful and successful alternative to encyclopedias – OpenStreetMap will soon prove to be a useful and successful alternative to expensive Google Maps. As more companies flock away from Google, more people will become exposed to alternatives to Google Maps. As Josh Constine, a writer for TechCrunch, observed:

“This is where Google’s long-term problem emerges. OpenStreetMap, or OSM, is totally free at any volume, but if users improve its data on their own, they have to contribute those improvements back to OSM. If someone augments OSM with satellite, street view, reviews, or other mashups, everyone’s maps benefit. As more big maps users switch to it, it will get better and better, creating a snowball effect where it gets more attractive with time.”

Recently, the social networking site Foursquare also announced it was ditching Google Maps for OpenStreetMap. It is expected that more companies will soon follow this trend.

For more information:

Webmonkey, “iPhoto for iOS Abandons Google Maps in Favor of OpenStreetMap” – click here

The Register, “Apple to Google Maps: ‘Get lost’ ” – click here

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Google Thinks It Can Solve Its Problems By Throwing Money At It

You have got to read this article detailing how Google employees are seeing the writing on the wall and are leaving their jobs to begin careers with Facebook: click here

CEO Larry Page is so desperate to beat Facebook that he is dangling bonuses over employee heads. If Google Plus does not work, employees can say bye bye to their bonuses. Ouch! Head over here to read more.

It does not seem like many people over at Google believe in their own product too much. Even top executives at Google do not use Google Plus – how embarrassing. It’s not just innocent Internet users who have to be tricked into and forced into using Google services, even Google employees have to be forced while kicking and screaming. Click here to learn more.

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