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Businesses Google IOS Upgrades Apple

Apple Reportedly Luring Ex-Google Mappers With Jobs 334

Posted by timothy
from the cash-grass-or-apps dept.
TechCrunch reports that Apple, facing a substantial backlash (and some snarky competitive advertising) over goofs in the mapping software included in iOS 6, is going after the problem with a hiring spree. Here's TechCrunch's lead: "Apple is going after people with experience working on Google Maps to develop its own product, according to a source with connections on both teams. Using recruiters, Apple is pursuing a strategy of luring away Google Maps employees who helped develop the search giant’s product on contract, and many of those individuals seem eager to accept due in part to the opportunity Apple represents to build new product, instead of just doing 'tedious updates' on a largely complete platform." Meanwhile, writes reader EGSonikku "Well known iOS hacker Ryan Perrich has gotten the iOS5 Google Maps application to run on iOS6 using 'a little trickery.' (YouTube demonstration.) He has not released it yet due to crashing issues but states 'it mostly works.'"
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Apple Reportedly Luring Ex-Google Mappers With Jobs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:10PM (#41431299)

    That's innovative ...

    • Smart Move (Score:5, Funny)

      by stephanruby (542433) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:40PM (#41431519)

      At least with Google employees, Apple won't need to email them a pdf map of their office location.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:46PM (#41431555)

      I don't use Apple products, so maybe this isn't as surprising to others as it is to me, but why the fuck can't an app that ran fine on iOS 5 also run fine on iOS 6? Why is "a little trickery" needed, and even then there are still issues?

      Furthermore, wasn't iOS 5 only released to the public in October of 2011? I mean, that wasn't even a single year ago! Is smartphone and tablet crap shat out so rapidly that backward compatibility can't be retained even after only 11 months?

      How is it that Microsoft, who aren't exactly known for creating the most robust software, can maintain backward compatibility with operating systems released decades ago, but Apple (also a very well-funded company, with access to basically any talent they need) can't even manage to retain compatibility with a system released not even a year ago?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:58PM (#41431635)

        Maps is a core OS app, like Safari or Mail, and as such it gets used by other applications. It only gets updated when the OS gets updated.

        Google reportedly has plans to release their own Maps application. This seems to be more about licensing then about compatibility. It's entirely possible this wasn't solely Apple's doing, but very well could've been due to Google's.

        • Apple has been suing the fuck out of the Android ecosystem.

          Hopefully Google did give them the boot but i doubt it.

      • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:01PM (#41431655)
        I suspect it's not a technical problem, but rather, a we-hate-google problem. As for why you need trickery to run it, it's probably related to the software being default software that was removed with the update.
      • by PixetaledPikachu (1007305) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:06PM (#41431673)

        I don't use Apple products, so maybe this isn't as surprising to others as it is to me, but why the fuck can't an app that ran fine on iOS 5 also run fine on iOS 6? Why is "a little trickery" needed, and even then there are still issues?

        Furthermore, wasn't iOS 5 only released to the public in October of 2011? I mean, that wasn't even a single year ago! Is smartphone and tablet crap shat out so rapidly that backward compatibility can't be retained even after only 11 months?

        How is it that Microsoft, who aren't exactly known for creating the most robust software, can maintain backward compatibility with operating systems released decades ago, but Apple (also a very well-funded company, with access to basically any talent they need) can't even manage to retain compatibility with a system released not even a year ago?

        this has nothing to do with backward compatibility, this is a solid case of "I don't want to pay you for features that my customers need, and I can't provide decent replacement, but my users will buy my stuff anyway, so why bother"

        • by NameIsDavid (945872) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:47PM (#41431933)

          this has nothing to do with backward compatibility, this is a solid case of "I don't want to pay you for features that my customers need, and I can't provide decent replacement, but my users will buy my stuff anyway, so why bother"

          No, it has to do with Google putting restrictions on the use of map data, including not allowing turn-by-turn navigation. Apple knew that it couldn't have a core feature of its product permanently beholden to a competitor and the restrictions it might impose down the line. So, realizing that bringing maps in-house would not get any easier down the line, it decided to rip off the band-aid now. Every other smartphone platform has done the same. Microsoft uses its own maps. Nokia owns Navteq and Google we all know about.

          • by fredprado (2569351) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:47PM (#41432293)
            Then they would have invested more in a better alternative before forcibly implementing it.
        • by deesine (722173)

          Not "why bother", rather "let's go on a hiring spree". You got the first 3/4 right. But this post kinda talks about the hiring spree-let's bother part.

      • by KugelKurt (908765) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:53PM (#41431973)

        Why is "a little trickery" needed

        Because the old app has to be extracted from the iOS 5 disk image first and then copied onto iOS 6. That's not supported officially and therefore requires some trickery.

        Android is no different if you try to get Google apps on a phone without "Google Experience" certification.

      • by scdeimos (632778)

        I'm only relatively new to iOS development, so I could be speaking out my ass, but it's probably because the iOS5 Maps app was using the MapKit.framework library just like every other maps-capable app on the device.

        Because Apple has replaced the iOS5 Map Kit library with their own (our app, for example, now uses the ugly Apple maps with no changes from us) I suspect Ryan Perrich has not only had to extract the old Maps app from an iOS5 image but also the MapKit.framework library and then package them togeth

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @10:36PM (#41433163) Homepage Journal

        but why the fuck can't an app that ran fine on iOS 5 also run fine on iOS 6?

        Apple to Customer: "You know that mapping app everybody uses? The one that's practically the most popular iOS app? The one that works so well? You can't use that any more."

        Customer: "Why not?"

        Apple to Customer: "Fuck you, that's why not. Now get back in line. And by the way, did you know that you prefer the walled garden because it provides a more seamless end-user experience? Now repeat that after me: "I prefer the walled garden because...""

      • by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @11:45PM (#41433561)

        why the fuck can't an app that ran fine on iOS 5 also run fine on iOS 6?

        They can. Apple do actually put a lot of effort into forwards compatibility, this is the reason behind some of the much maligned App Store rules.

        The factor you are missing is that Maps is not a normal third-party app. It's an app that is distributed as part of iOS. Apple had a five year license from Google to do so. That five years is up, and Apple no longer have a license to distribute this app. There's no technical incompatibility, it's a legal issue.

      • The Maps app is a core app built into the system (and thus only gets updated with OS updates), and since its introduction with the original iPhone five years ago, it's been using data that was licensed from Google (at the time, that was a big deal, but now it seems like nothing at all). Apple and Google had struck a five year contract which expired with iOS 5 for both the Maps app and for YouTube (also a core app of the system). As such, when the contract was up, there was apparently a mutual choice to go i

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:12PM (#41431311)
    I don't really see how this is a news story. I mean it makes completely sense to try and lure away experienced professionals away from another company on a similar project.
    • by Tough Love (215404) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:23PM (#41431393)

      it makes completely sense to try and lure away experienced professionals away from another company on a similar project.

      The story is that a company known for boasting about its innovation prowess and suing the rest of the industry over imitation is doing this.

      • it makes completely sense to try and lure away experienced professionals away from another company on a similar project.

        The story is that a company known for boasting about its innovation prowess and suing the rest of the industry over imitation is doing this.

        Well where do you think new ideas come from?

        Do you think they take "regular" people and plant them in the ground, water them with miracle grow or something? So if they didn't grow in Apple soil, it doesn't count?

        Really, I'm trying to figure out the logic behind this, like how a company known to boast of its innovation is expected to grow talented employees on trees.
        Apple is not THAT good, you are really showing your insecurities.

    • I don't really see how this is a news story. I mean it makes completely sense to try and lure away experienced professionals away from another company on a similar project.

      It's only news, because it's a rare event when corporations actually follow the law [redorbit.com] -- instead of just paying lip service to it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      Particularly when said employees worked on a successful mapping project and the pathetic half wits on your project deserved to be dropped out of a tenth storey window.

  • This. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tastecicles (1153671) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:14PM (#41431315)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573)

      Can we just post this link in the blurb on every Apple story so that we don't need to waste mod points on all the karmawhores?

    • Re:This. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by exomondo (1725132) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:32PM (#41431457)
      Between that, the stupid 'card view' app store layout, music app problems, wifi login issues and the battery life, iOS Vista really needs some work to get it up to scratch.
    • What you don't realise is that Apple is averse to having their stuff copied, and a cartographer's trick is to "make shit up" to put in their map, so that when it's copied, they can tell and sue for infringement: the supposed crappiness of Apple's OS6 maps is actually a form of copy protection.

      Well, either that or they decided the best way to make sure nobody copied their maps app was to make sure nobody would ever want to.

    • Re:This. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Smurf (7981) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:01PM (#41432021)

      Actually, a good chunk of those funny blunders falls into the third of these categories of problems with Apple's iOS 6 Maps:

      1. 1. Functionality that was there in the old (Google Maps-based) version, and that was lost in the new one.
      2. 2. Errors due to outdated or incomplete information, which conduces to bad navigation directions, misplaced locations, and other funny results. (That is, funny if you are not depending on the feature).
      3. 3. Errors in rendering of certain features (Hoover Dam, Eiffel Tower) which can be quite hilarious.

      The first category includes things like directions for public transportation, pedestrians, and bike trails, as well a more robust search system, but it doesn't produce funny errors, they don't get pointed out very often.

      The second category makes a good chunk of the hilarity, but it's something that Apple will (slowly) correct as they refine their databases. Google has many years of headstart here, so it's no wonder their database is in much better shape.

      The third category is the one that produces the most hilarious errors but... well, it turns out that it reflects artifacts in the renderings produced by the flyover feature, a feature that AFAIK is not really part of Google Maps, and thus the criticism is rather silly!

      Yes, Google has similar flyovers in Google Earth, but that's a separate product. Furthermore, Google Earth is plagued by similar errors in rendering. Examples:
      In Google Earth, go to this location in Houston: 29.713347 -95.382174, and follow the bayou (river) as it goes West and South-west towards the Texas Medical Center. See how all those bridges appear to sink to the level of the water? A similar example can be found in Philadelphia: 39.958905 -75.180871.

      tl;dr My point is: The 3D rendering errors are funny but not exclusive to Apple. The inaccurate database is easy to fix, but will take time. The missing features are the real problem and we don't know if Apple even intends to add them.

  • by Kohath (38547)

    Unfair. Those litigious monsters at Apple are hiring guys away from Google. Google should sue them to protect their vital IP.

    Also unfair: companies mutually agreeing not to poach each others' employees. And we don't believe in imaginary property.

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:19PM (#41431345) Homepage

    Apple Reportedly Luring Ex-Google Mappers With Jobs

    What did they do, prop him up and pull a string wrapped around his wrist to beckon them over?

    Sorry. I need sleep. Or help.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:20PM (#41431367)

    The referenced article mentions:

    The position sounds like a product development manager position, and will pay him $85k+ and all the moving expenses from the East Coast. He’s gone through 2 rounds of interview and seems like a frontrunner to land that position.

    Is $85K a lot of money for a product development manager? I know some IT Helpdesk staff that make nearly that much in Silicon Valley.

    • Maybe that meant $85k "plus" another $100k for cost-of-living in the Bay Area.
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      If it's the hiring bonus, maybe. I've seen a lot of manual tester positions recently starting about there.
    • This should come as no surprise, but salaries vary with location based largely on the cost-of-living. Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are some of the most expensive places to live in the US.

    • According to this [wealthfront.com], in Silicon Valley, product development managers make $130,000-$150,000 in the bay area. $85k sounds entry-level.
  • Data (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:20PM (#41431369) Homepage Journal

    Apple's problem is primarily with the data, not the actual mapping application. Considering how deep Apple's pockets are, I'm really surprised they weren't able to license a better / larger set of GIS data. There are number of competing mapping companies out there, so I have a hard time believing that, given enough money, one of them wouldn't have provided Apple with what they needed.

    Now as for the actual application, I believe Apple's map application is superior to Google's in a number of ways. I've always preferred vector / real-time drawn maps over pre-rendered tiled raster maps (which is what Google's are).

    So as for Google maps, why hasn't Google released a stand alone app yet? After all, that's all Google Maps are with Android is an app on the marketplace. Is Apple blocking Google, or is Google (perhaps wisely) letting Apple go it alone for a bit so people will miss the functionality Google provided, then they can step in and save the day (before Apple has a chance to improve their product enough)?

    • Re:Data (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QilessQi (2044624) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:31PM (#41431449)

      I respectfully disagree that the primary problem is the data. Have you seen the comparisons of Apple's "virtual flyover" with Google's "street view"? Flyover looks nice for certain scenes, but others are full of bizarre Dali-esque digital artifacts and distortions.

      Give me real photos from street level, any day.

      • by joh (27088)

        I respectfully disagree that the primary problem is the data. Have you seen the comparisons of Apple's "virtual flyover" with Google's "street view"? Flyover looks nice for certain scenes, but others are full of bizarre Dali-esque digital artifacts and distortions.

        Give me real photos from street level, any day.

        Yes, but at least in Europe Google has already stated that it won't update StreetView. Won't happen. People don't like companies driving along in front of their houses and snapping photos. It's over. I don't know where you live, but in my city Streetview is already getting stale.

        I think the next level is drones flying over the landscape and doing something like flyover from 300 feet. Next level, please.

      • by KugelKurt (908765)

        I respectfully disagree that the primary problem is the data. (...) Flyover looks nice for certain scenes, but others are full of bizarre Dali-esque digital artifacts and distortions.

        And Flyover data is not data?

      • by es330td (964170)

        I respectfully disagree that the primary problem is the data.

        The complaints aren't so much about the pictures as the location data. Since upgrading to iOS6 I have been frustrated several times when stores I needed to look up simply weren't in Yelp's database. I wanted a store five miles from my house and its best suggestion was one 15 miles away. I don't care about the pictures; what I want is to know the best route through Houston to a place I have been previously but have never driven to from where I happen to be.

        • Agreed, in the week I've been using it, I've found:
          -My wife's Psychology practice has disappeared.
          -One of the schoold where I work is spelled wrong and therefore can't be found
          -The local hospital that moved over two years ago is still in the old location
          -The local golf course has the wrong name

          This is what I've found without even really LOOKING for mistakes. not to mention the general loss of detail.

    • by KugelKurt (908765)

      So as for Google maps, why hasn't Google released a stand alone app yet?

      http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-earth/id293622097 [apple.com]
      Has been there since ages.

      • That's the Google Earth app, not Google Maps. It doesn't provide directions or street view. From what I've seen it also doesn't do maps, instead it always uses satellite images.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      Apple's problem is primarily with the data, not the actual mapping application.

      OpenStreetMap has better data in plenty of regions (there have been many examples of awful data in big European cities, which is where OSM is better than anything the commercial mappers provide), so I think there's more to it than simply data.

      Now as for the actual application, I believe Apple's map application is superior to Google's in a number of ways. I've always preferred vector / real-time drawn maps over pre-rendered tiled raster maps (which is what Google's are).

      Google's maps have been vector-based on Android since, apparently, 2010, and for a while on a WebGL browser too. http://www.techoncept.com/google-maps-android-app-now-has-amazing-vector-graphics-content-available-offline [techoncept.com]

    • Re:Data (Score:5, Informative)

      by De Lemming (227104) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:27PM (#41431831) Homepage

      Google has a maps app ready, and it's already submitted to Apple. The only thing holding it back is Apple approving it. So that may be next week, in a year (like they did with Google Voice [mashable.com]) or never (under the "duplicates a native service" rule).

      Sources:
      http://9to5mac.com/2012/09/20/google-has-an-ios-6-maps-app-awaiting-approval-it-is-solely-up-to-apple-to-approve/ [9to5mac.com]
      http://mashable.com/2012/09/20/google-maps-ios-6-apple-approval-report/ [mashable.com]

      • Time will tell if Google chooses to offer a maps app that's equivalent to their Android version, or if they choose to dumb it down for whatever reason (as has been the case with their Gmail app on iOS).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Dalrymple, pretty much the definitive rumor confirmation/denier on all things Apple has given this one a "Nope".

        http://www.loopinsight.com/2012/09/20/on-the-rumor-that-google-has-submitted-an-ios-6-maps-app-and-apple-is-sitting-on-it/

    • I've always preferred vector / real-time drawn maps over pre-rendered tiled raster maps (which is what Google's are).

      Google Maps (at least on Android) has used a combination of both approaches for a few years now. For an overview, you get bitmaps, but once you zoom in past some level, you get vector graphics. At least on less powerful devices, the change is quite apparent: for the former, you have to wait for the tiles to load, and for the latter, you have to wait for the map to render.

  • Honestly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joh (27088) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:22PM (#41431387)

    I'm not an Apple fanboi but the rap Apple is getting about that maps app (and the data behind it) is just unreasonable. I'm totally happy with another big company trying to gear up here. Having only Google as a supplier of that would be just sad. What's wrong with competition? Let Apple try and top Google or at least get far enough to be as usable as Google maps is. And really, it's not as if Google had no screw-ups ever. Google for it (lol).

    Sometimes I look at comments everywhere and it seems as if people would be totally happy to see nothing but Google and Android everywhere. Be careful what you wish for! Competition is good. Luring away employees is good. I love to be lured away from the job I'm doing. Give me a better job and a harder task to solve and I'm happy.

    I'm sure that Apple going for a solution of its own will make even Google better. There's nothing good about the complacency of being a monopoly. Really. Grow some brain, guys.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Apple releasing a map apps is completely fine. Making it not possible to use Google Maps, when in fact the Apple app sucks balls and the Google App is pretty awesome is what the problem is. Apple could at least have waited with blocking Google Maps until their own app wasn't so horrendous compared to the real thing.

    • by downhole (831621)

      Seems reasonable to me... Though I'm a longtime Android user, I have no problem with the idea of Apple trying to do their own thing and create a separate system. A little competition is good for everyone and all that. I know that Apple has a hard problem on their hands in creating a new mapping system - there's just an insane amount of data and tedious labor in creating really good global maps, and it takes years and many millions of dollars to get it right. But I'd still be pissed if I was an iPhone user w

    • Re:Honestly... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by should_be_linear (779431) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:07PM (#41431677)
      Sometimes I look at comments everywhere and it seems as if people would be totally happy to see nothing but Google and Android everywhere.

      If Apple and Microsoft PR departments only thought about all consequences of suing people around and behaving unethically in all cases where ethics remotely mattered ... You cannot expect /. crowd to forget in weeks what is their default corporate behavior.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by joh (27088)

      God, going from Score:3 (default) to Score: 5, Insightful to Score: 3 within minutes REALLY seems as if people don't like reasonable comments.

      Reminds me of getting a dozen thumbs down on The Register just for pointing out that the iPhone 4s was eating every other smartphone for lunch in GPU benchmarks along with a link to Anandtech proving it answering comments that that iPhone were tech of yesteryear (and I even don't own an iPhone 4s).

  • Great! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stephanruby (542433)

    Finally, Apple and Google are now poaching each other's employees/contractors. Remember this story [redorbit.com].

    Perhaps now, this will force Google to offer permanent positions and better salaries to some of its better contract programmers. Also now that Apple is going after Google's employees, Apple can't really complain if Google makes a targeted effort to hire away some of Apple's top designers.

    • Re:Great! (Score:4, Informative)

      by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:04PM (#41432043) Homepage Journal

      Perhaps now, this will force Google to offer permanent positions and better salaries to some of its better contract programmers.

      Huh? Google has no contract programmers to speak of. I hesitate to say the number is zero, because there's probably some obscure corner of the company that has one or two tucked away, but as far as I can see, zero is what it is (excluding interns -- many of whom become regular employees after graduation).

      Google uses a lot of contractors for facilities, food services, recruiters and other supporting positions, but SWEs (Software Engineers) and SETs (Software Engineers in Test), are basically all regular employees, as are the vast majority of SREs (Site Reliability Engineers... basically Google's sysadmins).

      Honestly, given the complexity and uniqueness of Google's infrastructure, it wouldn't make any sense for Google to hire contract programmers. It's pretty widely accepted internally that it takes a full year for a new Google engineer to become productive because of all of the technologies he or she needs to learn (this is also the reason Google interviews don't ask you about what tools/frameworks you've used in the past -- whatever it is, Google has built its own anyway so your knowledge is irrelevant). Since the company has to basically invest a full year up front, there's little value in hiring people for periods of time less than 2-3 years, but you can't hire a contractor for that long without the IRS viewing them as an employee anyway.

      (I'm a SWE at Google.)

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:48PM (#41431565)

    I thought Apple never did wrong because every pundit was detailing its so called, "attention to detail...". So what happened?

    One did not need elementary school education to realise that its maps iteration was not just crazy, but it was just bizzare, showed incompetence and was taken as a reckless joke by many of us.

    So again, what hapened to, "It just works?"

  • Meanwhile Google is furiously patenting everything about Google Maps that they possibly can.

  • by notdotcom.com (1021409) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:41PM (#41431903)

    My current job said it best: "What we need is not new *people*; we need new *ideas*.

    Wouldn't you know it, they are willing to pay for both!

  • Samsung should do an advert now while the iron is hot. Showing hipsters stumbling around banging into buildings and going to the wrong place. "our phones wont leave you lost".

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

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