Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TomTom launches online maps

Not so long ago I have reported on this blog that Google has committed to extending its dominance to GPS navigation services on mobile phones. Now it looks that the table has turned and TomTom, a major in-car GPS Navigation company, has launched an online mapping application in direct competition with Google.

For now TomTom’s positioning for this application appears to be just route planning however the functionality is very basic: just fixed “From…to” option, without ability to add stopovers or adjusting the route for a mode of transport or other preferences like avoiding tolls or highways. There is an option to specify time of the day so, I presume TomTom has some capability of adjusting results depending on historical traffic conditions but it does not seem to work in Australia. The application apparently takes advantage of TomTom’s core technologies, IQ Routes and Map Share, in planning the best routes but it is hard to see what is so special about these in the online version. Base maps are provided by Telstra’s Whereis.

According to an article in Dynamic Business: “The introduction of the online Route Planner in Australia marks an important step in [TomTom’s] strategy to make award-winning navigation available to all users, regardless of the platform that is used…” If TomTom is serious about this strategy they have to add much more functionality and possibly open the platform to independent developers. Otherwise it just looks like a desperate move by a company that has a lot to loose to Google in mobile GPS navigation market so it tries to gain some ground in the online market to compensate…

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