For many years now, Google Maps has been guiding Indians across the country. And while cars have often been led to dead ends and national borders have found themselves tweaked, it has prevailed as a stable on smartphones and car navigation systems. Now however, as the push to make India Aatma Nirbhar intensifies, ISRO has teamed up with MapmyIndia to introduce an alternative.
Now, the cartographical company is not new. But the recent deregulation of the use of geospatial data by the government has paved the way for a collaboration capable of challenging Google's monopoly. Simply put, the collaboration means that MapmyIndia's digital maps will now blend with information provided by ISRO, such as satellite images, weather data and more.
Going by it's Google Play Store listing, MapmyIndia Move provides users with maps that advanced 3D maps incorporate ISRO’s Bhuvan Satellite view and offers features such as voice guidance, live location sharing and more. If logged in from multiple devices, you can even use it to track your phone's location.
But can MapmyIndia truly take on Google Maps and Google Earth? Netizens certainly seem to think so. While many appear to have been swayed almost instantaneously by the 'made in India' tag associated with the app, others are showering praise on the app after having used it extensively.
"Started using Move app developed by Indian company Map My India for navigation in place of Google Maps. It is as good as the later," tweeted BJP leader Ram Madhav recently.
I downloaded @MapmyIndia MOVE app on my phone in the US. I searched my address back in my hometown, it displayed it 100%. The only issue is pincode, it displays incorrectly. If I update it and request for a change, does it implement right away or after it is reviewed?" marveled another user.
And while some on the Play Store reviews and remarks on social media platform did note that the app appeared to be lagging at times or that the quality of the visuals ought to be improved, these are deficiencies that the users seem willing to overlook at present.
"A very nice start, which has huge potential. It still needs lots of tweaks to be as competitive," read one Play Store review. At present the app has a rating of 4.4 from a whopping 11,946 reviews.
Coming to the original question of whether MapmyIndia Move can take on or replace Google Maps, it remains unclear at this time. While the app's popularity continues to grow, it remains comparatively obscure when one draws a parallel. Not to mention, its features are still trying to catch up with that of its competitor.
And while Indians have been receptive of homegrown products, it is unlikely that they will be uninstalling Google Maps today.