Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL: grading their iOS apps for 2012

Google is excelling on Apple’s own platform with popular iOS apps, but it’s not alone among its fellow consumer internet companies. Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo also had some success on their rival’s platform in 2012. Here’s a look at who did better.

Can a Redesign Help MapQuest Find Its Way?

MapQuest not that long ago was the leader in online map services, but then Google came along and stole the crown. Now AOL has redesigned its service and added a range of new features in an attempt to regain some ground against its larger rival.

Not Just for the Volt: Ford, GM Get Google Maps

Ford and General Motors plan to let drivers send Google Maps directions to their in-vehicle communication systems, Sync and OnStar. The automakers announced the services separately today, as Internet rivalries spill over into the landscape of connected and electric cars.

AOL Discarding Opportunities for Web Relevance

As AOL (s TWX) lays off a third of its work force as it prepares to go independent, it’s looking to drop its ICQ and MapQuest units, according to reports by Kara Swisher. But with the deluge of information hitting web users these days, location and presence are two of the most promising ways to parse the online world (GigaOM Pro sub. required). They’re also two of the most innovation-rich veins of the last year, with projectile growth of mobile location apps and the ongoing real-time status arms race. While AOL is busy revising itself to be about content and advertising, both of those areas of focus benefit greatly from context and relevance.
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AOL Seeks Directions for a MapQuest Facelift

MapQuest isn’t the shiniest online mapping service. It isn’t the most accurate or the coolest. It is so old school…well, you get the drift. Apparently, that hasn’t deterred over 47 million people who check out the service every month and make it one of the top 20 web sites on the planet.

Well, it is time for MapQuest to get a much-needed facelift. But the AOL subsidiary isn’t getting a makeover in the traditional redesign way: The service is entering a three-month long beta that will experiment with boosting usability of the site. In a conversation, Mark Law, Mapquest’s VP of product development, said the team is working working hard to layer the MapQuest data with content that is helpful to direction seekers.

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Take That, Google! MapQuest Snags OnStar Deal

Given my current obsession with digital mapping and all things location-based, don’t be surprised if you see more short news blurbs here about deals such as the one announced by AOL’s MapQuest and General Motor’s OnStar. OnStar is launching a new service called eNav, which, as their press release states:

…will allow subscribers to have directions sent from their computer to specially-equipped vehicles. Once the directions have been sent to the user’s car, they can then be accessed via voice-guided commands. In 2009, under the terms of the agreement, eNav users will be able to download directions directly to their vehicle’s screen-based navigation system.

The eNav service, which piloted last year under the name “Web Destination Entry,” is available to all of GM’s 2.65 million Turn-by-Turn-capable vehicles as of today. (See video below the fold) Read More about Take That, Google! MapQuest Snags OnStar Deal