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Google Navigation: Why Only In Certain Countries?

samsung-android1 With all the Droid talk, I started to think about all the perks owning one entails:
Android 2.0
5 MP dual flash LED
3.7” multitouch capacitive screen
GPS
Android Turn by Turn
and many other features.

However, will the European courts view Google’s apps as a good thing or implementation of software that will create a monopoly and diminish competition?

Novell and Sun Microsytems complained a few years back that Microsoft controlled the market through anti-competitive practices. European courts deemed Microsoft‘s Internet Explorer (IE), Windows Media Player (WMP), as added on software that failed to create fair competition.

In short, a multi-million dollar Anti-Trust lawsuit ensued. Microsoft had to pay $794 Million dollars and create a separate version of Windows without IE and WMP.

This might be the reason why the Motorola Sholes, Droid, Milestone (am I forgetting one?) is running with MotoNav in Europe rather than Google Turn by Turn.

Google has stated Google apps are subject to the carrier’s discretion. It would be interesting to see how MotoNav will differ from Google Turn by Turn…and I’m not talking about the user interface (UI), but what’s powering it.

It would also be interesting to see what TomTom and Garmin LTD.’s next step will be. Especially since the Google navigation system is free and incorporated into a multifunction device.

Below is an example of what MotoNav looks like on a GPS device and a Phone Display
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  • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

    Could be that Google insisted on third party/manufacturer-branded solutions be included just to avoid the headache and despair of being hit with the anti-trust lawsuit. They’ve already had enough problems in Europe as of late (Google Maps in general has gotten them into a bit of trouble over there)

  • Robfactory

    Well it wouldn’t be a third party app since Motorola makes the Droid.

  • Robfactory

    But I get what you’re saying.

  • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

    Yea, that’s why I also said manufacturer-branded.

  • KBlack

    Isn’t it simply because google nav is in US-only beta stage for now? Making sure everything fits correctly and whatnot…

  • C_H

    I know one of the reasons that Google Nav is limited to the US is because Google owns their own US roadmaps and don’t have to pay a fee to use them for turn-by-turn navigation. If someone else is supplying the maps, then Google would have to pay a fee.

    To see this, load up Google maps and browse to any area on the map. In the lower righthand corner it gives copyright info on the map provided. In the US, this is Google, in Mexico, it is INEGI, and in Canada/W. Europe it is Teleatlas. Until Google has their own Canadian/European maps, don’t expect free Nav there.

  • Eric F

    Almost certainly the reason is that recently Google switched from map data in the USA from data licensed from another company that PROHIBITED its use in a turn by turn navigation application to data owned by Google.

    Center the map somewhere and look at the copyright on the bottom right hand corner of the map. Then scroll over to Europe. See?

    You should do this kind of research before posting something like this. The answer is not that hard to find. Then the internet doesn’t have to be filled with so much speculative misinformation that everyone gobbles down like it is truth.

  • http://www.androidclub.nl AndroidClub NL

    If Google just offer their navigation through the Android Market and allow other manufacturers to do so as well (there already are some), then there will no EU nazi who can do anything about it.
    By the way, for all you folks outside the EU: at least twothird of the EU population doesn’t want the EU government and doesn’t want an (unelected) EU president, but still it happens, that’s why I used that ‘big word’.

  • Brian

    I think it’s a smart move by Google (if I understand it right) to allow the manufacturer to determine what does and doesn’t go on the phones in terms of apps. Google provides the base OS and they can put whatever Google extras on there as they want. Google could be sued for putting Google Navigation on the phone but the suit will quickly fall apart since the carrier not Google put the app there.
    If Google makes the apps available on the Market and allows the carriers to preload the ones they choose on the phone they can provide whatever goodies they want and avoid the whole MS-style anti-trust mess because they aren’t shoving anything down anyone’s throats. It’s a good business plan.

  • http://www.androinica.com AndrewKam

    I’m inclined to agree with C_H. You have to remember that Google Nav relies on Google-owned map data and information sourced from US transit agencies. Meanwhile in the Europe, they are still using TeleAtlas-sourced maps. That seems to be far more likely to be a problem than any antitrust concerns.

  • Alex Whiteside

    Maybe it’s because Google Nav’s maps data currently only covers the US, and no European maps exist regardless of which regulatory regime you operate in. US Google Nav users will not get European maps either, which is inconsistent with the antitrust hypothesis.

  • Héctor

    What C_H said.

  • TSellers

    Antitrust was not a factor at all. As others have said, its only available in the US because Google doesn’t have to license US maps as it owns them. The rest of the world still requires licensing from third parties to create a complete map. Besides, having a monopoly isn’t illegal. Its abusing that monopoly with anticompetitive behavior that becomes an issue. Even if Google Navigation did completely swallow the nav market, it would be a tough sell to argue that giving your product away for free is anticompetitive.
    Meaningless an uninformed speculation.

  • KBlack

    Heh. I came back here because I remembered the bit about google owning the US maps but having deals with other companies for the rest of the world. But looks like other people remembered before me :P

  • CompactDstrxion

    Google wouldn’t have to worry about antitrust anyway. Android is not a monopoly operating system. Windows is.

  • Morten

    This is dumb.

    Android is not in an monopoly situation. If it were, it wouldn’t matter since only “with Google” devices come with Google Navigate.

    And as mentioned. Google has said it is a US beta only, implying that it will come to Europe.

  • a

    Google navigation requires constant internet connection and while with unlimited data plans this is not a problem except during roaming. US are a big country while in Europe we have many separate countries with different carriers and data on roaming is not cheap at all

  • mvl

    Google pulled government sourced maps for the US, essentially for free.

    In much Europe, the government doesn’t allow free use of its maps, so Google would have to pay for it, and then couldn’t give a free app when they do.

    The best maps in Europe are by Teleatlas, and Google’s Teleatlas license prohibits turn-by-turn since Teleatlas is owned by Tomtom.

  • janus

    @AndroidClub NL
    what is this crap about EU-Nazis are you nuts???
    The EU with its lawsuit are only there to protect small businesses.

  • Tam

    Agree with you janus !

    @AndroidClub NL
    Where do you get the number of 2/3 of EU population doesn’t want an EU government ?? It’s not ’cause you don’t like it that you assume “everobody” is like you !

    @Rob “Motorola Sholes, Droid, Milestone (am I forgetting one?)”
    You forget “Tao” ;)

  • Lee Morrow

    Google’s turn by turn nav is supported by their own maps which they created when they street viewed the USA, only the center of major cities in Europe have been street viewed so far so it may take a while for them to finish their european map making.
    This is probably the reason for it not launching in Europe yet.

  • Jay Benshaw

    Microsoft wasn’t sued because Internet Explorer included – all operating systems need SOME browser to start with.

    It was in trouble because Internet Explorer could not be removed or replaced from the system. Even the “Add/Remove Programs” thing just took the icon off the desktop.

  • Duan

    The included Motonav is not free. It is a 60 day Trail.

  • stemhesong

    Actually if they sue Microsoft for implementing internet explorer and Windows. media center, they should also sue Apple for implementing safari and itunes, only Linux can implement FireFox as its not made by them.