‘A Significant Step Down in Quality’

Peter Batty weighs in on the quality of Google’s new, homegrown map data:

As anyone in the geo world knows, all maps have errors, and it’s hard to do a really rigorous analysis on Google’s current dataset versus others. But I think there is strong evidence that the new Google dataset in the U.S. is a significant step down in quality from what they had before, and from what Microsoft, Yahoo and MapQuest have (via Tele Atlas or NAVTEQ).
Google clearly hopes to clean up the data fairly quickly by having users notify them of errors. But looking at the situation, I think that they may have a few challenges with this. One is just that the number of errors seems to be pretty large. But more importantly, I think the question for Google is whether consumers will be motivated to help them fix up the data, when there are plenty of good free alternatives available. If Google gives you the wrong answer once maybe you let it slide, and perhaps you notice the link to inform them of the problem and maybe fill it out. But if it happens a couple of times, is the average consumer likely to keep informing Google of errors, or just say “*&#% this, I’m switching to MapQuest/Bing/Yahoo”?

Worth reading in full.

Previously: Too Soon?; Google Stops Using Tele Atlas in the U.S.