Practically every single search company that has tried to develop a maps software has had some trials and tribulations. While Apple’s efforts were laughed at by many when they first appeared, even though their software is now slowly improving, even the might Google Maps is liable to send you in the wrong direction or not be fully updated to reflect all of the information that you will need to know to navigate safely.
Simply put, it is a costly endeavour to make sure that the software works as the end user requires it to, so only the most committed companies, or the ones with the deepest pockets, invest enough into the software to make it a viable alternative to road maps and GPS systems.
For about eight years Yahoo was one of those companies. While Yahoo Maps never came close to reaching the heights that its Google developed counterpart managed, the company still continued to support it regardless and kept going even though many would have claimed that it was the inferior product.
The company’s new agreement with Mozilla, which has seen them claw back some much-needed share in the search market, may have been a small beacon of hope for those who used the service as it suggested that Yahoo was on the way to competing more steadily with its rivals. However, it appears as though it was simply not to be.
The company announced a number of changes in the services that it offers to customers, with Yahoo Maps perhaps being the biggest casualty on the list. A lot of people have reacted to the announcement with surprise, considering the fact that the company did invest considerable time and effort into their own map software. After all, they kept it running for eight years, which is only a couple of years shy of Google Maps itself.
The company commented in the announcement that:
“The Yahoo Maps site will close at the end of June. We made this decision to better align resources to Yahoo’s priorities as our business has evolved since we first launched Yahoo Maps eight years ago.”
In short, it sounds like the company have decided that there are other avenues that are worth investing in, much more than a market that is admittedly dominated by just a few different players. It also means that any people who do rely on the service only have until the end of this month to continue using it.
The speculation is that the company will still offer a maps service of some description, but it simply won’t be one that that provide themselves. The likelihood is that they will simply end up using Bings map software, considering the close relationship the company’s continue to share and their mutual efforts to bring Google down a peg or two.
So all in all, it looks like Yahoo are either downscaling a little bit or simply relocating some of their resources into other avenues. They also announced the closure of Yahoo Pipes – which is a development community of sorts – so Maps wasn’t the only thing that was affected.