Google decided to boast about just how great its Maps product is. It's quite great, if you must know, but it's going to get even better, Google said. To prove this, it highlighted some of the things it's working on and some of the things it has already implemented in a press conference and a blog post.
These are things like the Street View Trekker
, which enables Google to go to any place on Earth and snap panoramic photos, and things like vastly improved 3D buildings coming to Google Maps soon.
Worthwhile features and updates, but nothing groundbreaking and with few links between them. Out of context, it may seem like a strange move from Google, to just pick some of the things it's working on and then make a big presentation over them, despite the fact that they're not ready.
Google rarely does this, it only talks when it's got something to show for it and something to give to users, with some exceptions or when it's about big products or announcements.
There is a reason behind the rushed presentation, Apple is just about to unveil its own map product for iOS. It's been just rumors so far, but it seems likely and Google's move just confirms it.
What is strange though is the fact that Google felt the need to react, in fact, to pre-react to this even though Maps is by far the most popular and the most complete map product on the web.
That said, having Google Maps replaced with an Apple product on iPhones and iPads is going to be a blow to Google. It's going to lose a lot of users, especially if other apps won't be able to embed Google Maps anymore. But Apple is going to have to come up with something that is at least as good as Google Maps which is going to be tough, really tough, even for Apple.