In spite of user complaints about Apple’s new Maps application, Tim Cook and co. managed to sell upwards of 5 million iPhone 5s this past weekend. Pretty good considering some folks thought the company was toast following the resignation and subsequent passing of Steve Jobs.
But despite the impressive sales figures, the fact remains that Apple really has a lot of work to do with its Mapping application and that it may simply not have the resources and personnel to roll-out significant Mapping improvements as fast as the public would like.
That said, TechCrunch is reporting that Apple is now aggressively recruiting Google employees with Mapping experience to help Apple enhance their own offering. What’s more, the report claims that Google employees are rather interested in hopping on board Team Apple as it represents an opportunity to build a Mapping application from the ground up as opposed to implementing “tedious updates” for Mapping program that’s already fully baked.
TechCrunch’s source notes that folks at Google Maps began to get a little bit bored once the company started to focus on indoor mapping.
Many of my coworkers at Google Maps eventually left when their contracts ended or on their own accord. One guy looked around for other GIS work and ended up at Apple when a recruiter contacted him. He had heard rumors for a while that Apple was going to develop its own in-house mapping platform, and given his experience at Google, he was an easy hire. Apple went out of their way to bring him down to Cupertino and he’s now paid hansomly [sic] as a GIS Analyst. Another coworker that was a project lead at Google Maps, left for the East Coast after his contract ended, and was recently contacted by an Apple recruiter. The position sounds like a product development manager position, and will pay him $85k+ and all the moving expenses from the East Coast.
So can Apple eventually catch up with Google, a company that has had Mapping as a priority for years now? TechCrunch’s source notes:
Apple has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to build a robust mapping platform to counter Google Maps, so it doesn’t surprise me that it’s going out of its way to lure former and current Google Maps employees. At Google Maps, we know what data’s important, rendering priorities, keyword searches, and how the user experience is suppose to be. However, Apple needs to find a way to get its own 5 million miles of street view data, partner with the right folks, and spend a fortune on licensed data – which it can.
A tall order no matter how you slice it.
Lastly, Apple has also put up job postings for software engineers at its Santa Clara Valley, California offices for positions specifically relating to Maps.
Some of the new hires will be looking at improving how the app renders 3D flyover models, generates terrain, and renders roads. According to the job description, doing so will require knowledge of C++ and “advanced shader techniques,” with an emphasis on getting maps to work on different hardware platforms.
Others will be working on “implementing real-time rendering techniques, creating new and innovative features, solving challenging algorithmic problems, and fixing problems.”
Another role listed “finding/fixing performance bottlenecks, creating performance-measuring tools, monitoring performance over time, and solving challenging performance problems” as some of the tasks involved.
Additional success factors for candidates included familiarity with location-based technologies and mobile, and curiously, “a special affinity for teapots and bunnies.”
Navigation is also receiving some attention, with Apple hiring developers to help fix issues and enhance performance. In particular, they’ll need to have experience implementing routing algorithms, such as Dijkstra and A*, and matching maps with GPS and other location data.