Mapping Anxiety

Google Maps

M.G. Siegler:

What Google actually unveiled today is their own vulnerability in the space. Beyond a few tiny leaks, no one knows what Apple’s mapping product will be like. Google has by far and away the best mapping product on the planet. But they still felt the need to hold this meaningless press conference today. That’s fighting down, not up. And it’s a big mistake because it conveys the opposite of what Google was trying to convey: concern, not confidence.

The undeniable caveat to this game of vague promises and pre-emptive conflicts is that Apple may unveil something truly awful in the mapping space. Conversely, Apple may reveal something utterly revolutionary in the space and, as M.G. writes, absorb “half the market.”

The truth is, we simply do not — and, indeed, cannot — know the outcome at this juncture.

With Google I/O, WWDC, E3, and Computex all occurring within several days of each other, journalists are rabidly hoping to bank upon premonitions of market shiftings, and pen the eminent article of the biggest month in technology this year. Such endeavors tend to take the shape of naming victors in battles that have yet to be fought, losers in conflicts that do not yet exist, and expressing disappointment in products that have not yet been touched by public fingers.

Although I certainly agree that Google has expressed undeniable anxiety over Apple’s presumably impending entry into the mapping space, I deem any further insight as being endlessly presumptuous. Inferring that Apple’s solution simply must be a game-changer due to Google’s hurried press conference is utterly absurd. Similarly, crowning Microsoft as the victor of the living room before Apple has even unveiled its response is equally ignorant.

With each passing day, new products and services are being shared with the world for the first time. And yet, beyond the obvious innovation and change, the vast majority of journalists and bloggers are interested only in naming a victor in a fight that has yet to be fought.

Such willful dismissal of the here-and-now is not only disappointing, but is the embodiment of the betrayal of the journalistic school in which they purportedly choose to reside.