Google Is Mocking You, Apple

Give Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) credit for good timing. With Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) new Maps app suffering from (mostly) well-deserved criticism, the search king this week released a video to YouTube showing how Google Maps users can take Street View straight into the ocean in some parts of the mapped world:

"Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii," wrote Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps and Earth, in a blog post announcing the upgrade.

But there's also subtext at work. Specifically: don't try this with your iPhone, folks. Apple's Maps can't do what Google Maps can.

Mac, the new PC
I can't remember the last time we've seen Apple mocked like this. Usually, it's the other way around, such as when the Mac maker took to the airwaves to lampoon Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) and its troubled Vista edition of the Windows operating system. The "I'm a Mac" campaign from those days has since become advertising legend, trailing only Apple's "1984" ad in its withering effectiveness.

Comparing the new Google Maps unveiling to the "1984" ad would be grossly overstating what's going on here. After all, the video only pitches the desktop version of Google Maps. My Mac is just as capable of rendering underwater Street View as any Chromebook or Windows PC.

Nor are underwater maps a particularly disruptive technology. And yet the point remains. As Android phones and tablets grow in functionality, it's likely we'll see ever more advances in what Google Maps displays as Apple plays catch-up.

We won't have a good read on what the race to provide the best maps interface means until Apple issues a ruling on whether Google gets to submit a separate maps app in the same way that it did with YouTube, which was decoupled from the iPhone's underlying platform with the introduction of iOS 6.

For his part, Apple CEO Tim Cook has written a letter to customers apologizing for the trouble with Maps. "We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," he wrote.

Taking a bite of the Apple
My guess is Cook and his team will make good, but not before the Big G gets to work on a new Google Maps for iOS. The race is on. Who do you think will come out ahead? Please leave us a comment in the space below.

And in the meantime, if you're thinking of buying (or already own Apple shares), remember that now's a great time to sign up for our premium research service. You'll get a complete rundown of everything you need to know about the Mac maker plus a bonus iPhone 5 report with ideas for profiting from the new device. Click here now to get not only all the research, but also a year of free updates.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have also recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple and a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2012, at 10:45 PM, 313neptune wrote:

    It's such a shame that this "smart" technology has devolved into a whole lot of stupid. But this is what we watch two parties fight it out by mocking each other and running smear campaigns. So this November when I go to the polls to vote on who should be the presi.....oh wait, we're talking about smartphones. Sorry. Got them mixed up.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2012, at 1:34 AM, commercenary wrote:

    The best that Apple and Google have created for the world arose out of independent vision and genius; not from one-upmanship. When one group or the other gets bogged down in trying to prove they're better than the other, they detract from their own vision; they weaken and stagnate. And like a Google search on a MacBook Pro, the best comes from fusion. Apple and Google need to ignore their stock prices and the popularity polls, and each simply do the best they can. Hm. Kind of like another two-party system I know, eh, Neptune?...

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