You may recall that one of the 50 ADC Round 1 Winners was for an application called PedNav, essentially mapping systems for urban settings. If you’re a pedestrian wanting to get from Point A to Point B, what are the chances you’ll want to follow the rules of One-Way Streets, Exit Ramps and such?
Very little… which explains why PedNav was such a simple, articulate and useful little solution that city dwellers could easily see becoming a consistent resource via Android enabled Phones. Obviously, judges of ADC Round 1 agreed as PedNav won one of the Top 50 prizes in the competition and continued on to Round 2.
As we know, winners received $25,000 for further development of their applications. But the folks at RouteMe2 Technologies, makers of PedNav, have to feel somewhat slighted by the award. Why? Because Google itself now allows users to get WALKING DIRECTIONS.
Ouch, that burns. And you can bet that the Google Maps API will include walking directions support so that other developers can use Walking Directions in their own applications… like ones that will be found on the Android platform. At first glance, it seems like this would leave PedNav more or less defeated before the competition begins. Does it not?
But walking directions is only the START of overlapping competition between Google and application developers. How about public transportation, for example? Google already has Public Transit directions available for BlackBerry’s and within the past week has launched support for Public Transit Directions for Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 devices… you can download it here.
Don’t get us wrong… its an AWESOME little application and capability. The point is, Google has stepped on a few toes with wireless carriers throughout this whole Android thing and it was only a matter of time before they start stepping on the territory of their own platform’s developers.
You could argue that google has been into mapping and directions for a LONG time – and you’d be right – but is this just the start? How long will it be before Google sees neat applications and capabilities by 3rd party apps on Android and creates their own version, distributes in bulk and provides an API for broader reach?
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information. But, as we’ve seen with Knoll and now Android, there is a fine line between finding, collecting and organizing existing information from 3rd parties (like Google Search) and actually producing information yourself and organizing it along with all the 3rd parties.
We understand that you can’t please everyone – Google can’t afford to look out for the feelings and interest of every little developer when it has much bigger tasks at hand (which a billion dollar enterprise should have). However, where is the line drawn? How affected will its partners and developers become? How many lines will Google cross?
We’ve seen the unsuspecting rise and fall of many great companies and brands. While Google is enjoying outrageous success and the end seems nowhere on the horizon… could this foreshadow the cause of their eventual demise – even if decades down the road? Is Google trying to do too much at the expense of too many?
What do YOU think?