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Old 17th May 2019, 11:18   #1
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Default How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

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India is the world’s largest market for motorbikes, with two-wheelers making up 70% of all vehicles registered by its 1.3 billion residents.
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when user research showed that motorbikers in India didn’t find Maps useful, a team in Google’s Seattle office was tasked with figuring out how to change it.
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A dive into the data revealed that motorbike drivers would only open the app for about 30 seconds and then close it. The team of product experts hypothesized that drivers needed more guidance on their route, so they spun up a prototype that would provide more in-ride prompts. But when they tested it with users in Jaipur, the largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, the prototype flopped.
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After actually spending time in India talking to people, the product team realized that the exact opposite of their initial assumption was true: Motorbike drivers didn’t want to look at or listen to their phones at all as they navigated the crowded and often chaotic roads. Instead, they wanted clearer guidance before starting out.
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The Google Maps team on the project ended up building a “two-wheeler mode” with customized routes for motorbikes that simplifies the maps and highlights landmarks to make it easier for drivers to understand and memorize the way before starting out. Since that product launched about a year and a half ago, its usage has grown from one million daily users to 5 million, and Google has launched the feature in more than a dozen new markets.
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Google's customized routes for motorbikes take into consideration that they can take narrow side streets and cruise past car traffic.
Source: Forbes
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Old 17th May 2019, 11:24   #2
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Default re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

Great that something from Google, other than search/email worked. The interesting bit is,
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The team of product experts hypothesized that drivers needed more guidance on their route, so they spun up a prototype that would provide more in-ride prompts. But when they tested it with users in Jaipur, the largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, the prototype flopped.
Imagine a bunch of greenhorns in Seatle, trying to figure out two-wheeler traffic in India
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Old 17th May 2019, 11:31   #3
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Motorbike drivers didn’t want to look at or listen to their phones at all as they navigated the crowded and often chaotic roads. Instead, they wanted clearer guidance before starting out.
I think it is quite obvious that the high and mighty up at the Google never rode a 2 wheeler in their lives. And definitely had no idea about how a 2 wheeler is ridden / driven in traffic of India. Of course the person on bike/scooter will have no time to look at the screen unless he has stopped at a publicly obeyed red light.

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a team in Google’s Seattle office was tasked with figuring out how to change it.
I find it funny that a team sitting in the first world is assigned a task of solving a third world problem!


This article prompts me to try the bike mode today evening. Lets see what is really so different.
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Old 17th May 2019, 12:24   #4
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Default re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

I think we would have significant representation of Indians at Google. Also they would definitely have people from India in the team developing the product.
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Old 17th May 2019, 23:38   #5
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Default re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
I find it funny that a team sitting in the first world is assigned a task of solving a third world problem!
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Originally Posted by msdivy View Post
Imagine a bunch of greenhorns in Seatle, trying to figure out two-wheeler traffic in India
No matter how much it seems Google is working towards general public benefit these are on a wider note part of their data research. The data they collect from the process is used by their AI / Analytics engines to in turn generate intelligence that they are in turn selling. This is exactly why Google wants to know first who is using their data, nothing works without your login.

I am giving two contextual examples to illustrate this.

Example 1: If they can ensure more bikers use their maps they would be able to channelize and predict traffic to give more accurate route and traffic information to their paid subscribers like Uber.

Example 2: if a biker is entering the destination while starting on a journey Google would know where a person is heading which otherwise if the person does not do but still has location turned on in his cell phone Google would anyway know eventually but only after he reaches there. So where is the difference? Its the advance knowledge of the destination that Google would sell as anonymous information to a local business such as a restaurant so that they know in advance a predicted load in next 1 hr and can plan accordingly.

Eventually we are just used as guinea pigs. See below how much Google has earned from Uber by letting their cab fleet use Google maps.

https://www.androidauthority.com/ube...s-deal-975566/

Last edited by haisaikat : 17th May 2019 at 23:40.
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Old 18th May 2019, 04:08   #6
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Default How Google worked with Motorcyclists in India

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Originally Posted by msdivy View Post
Great that something from Google, other than search/email worked. The interesting bit is,

Imagine a bunch of greenhorns in Seatle, trying to figure out two-wheeler traffic in India
If you Google a bit you will find that the company has many more successful products apart from Search and Email(hardly makes any significant revenue).

Google’s other revenues, including cloud services, hardware, and app sales, grew a solid 37% to $4.4 billion over the same quarter a year earlier.The gains weren’t just from Google’s lucrative advertising business, which announced for 86% of Alphabet’s revenue during the quarter.

https://qz.com/1334369/alphabet-q2-2...vertising-now/

Revenue at Google’s parent company rose 25% during the second quarter of 2018, compared with the same period last year.

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I find it funny that a team sitting in the first world is assigned a task of solving a third world problem!
This is not true, any project like this would have people in India also most likely in the Bangalore or Hyderabad offices running trials and collecting data at the very least. Google Maps has many employees working on it in India.

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Originally Posted by 2000rpm View Post
I think we would have significant representation of Indians at Google. Also they would definitely have people from India in the team developing the product.
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Originally Posted by haisaikat View Post
See below how much Google has earned from Uber by letting their cab fleet use Google maps.

https://www.androidauthority.com/ube...s-deal-975566/
There is no doubt Google tries to monetise its product (or else how would the exist) but the prices they are charging Uber is pretty much next to zero considering Uber wouldn't work without it.

From the above article:

The S-1 reveals that Uber paid Google approximately $58 million for the use of Google Maps between January 1, 2016 and December 2018.

$58 million seems like a small fee for functionality Uber cannot exist without — especially since $58 million is little more than a rounding error for Google, which took home $39.2 billion in revenue for Q4 2018 alone last year.

Uber’s revenue of $7.93 billion in 2017 and $11.27 billion in 2018 is strong, although it continues to lose money, and says itself it may never make a profit. Overall, the Google Maps agreement is a fundamental necessity for its riders and 3.2 million drivers.
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Old 18th May 2019, 06:57   #7
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Default re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

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If you Google a bit you will find that the company has many more successful products apart from Search and Email(hardly makes any significant revenue).
Search, email are home grown solutions. Others like Maps, YouTube, Android are acquired solutions. Google lacks the domain expertise. They have technology but lack domain expertise. Their approach to solving maps for 2 wheelers proves that. Domain experts don't go about like that. Google approach was like intern-project and reads like good intern report.

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There is no doubt Google tries to monetise its product (or else how would the exist) but the prices they are charging Uber is pretty much next to zero considering Uber wouldn't work without it.
Oh on ads, Google will advice its users that Skoda service is best, just for the reason Skoda paid them money. But the search results below that advice will tell a different story .
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Old 18th May 2019, 08:43   #8
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Default re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

I was leading a team that would have integrated maps/navigation into a much anticipated motorcycle from one of the biggest two wheeler brands in India. But we ended up cancelling the project because the client had unrealistic expectations since they basically wanted us to replicate google maps for a pittance and in 3 months because they didn't want to pay licensing fees to google.
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Old 18th May 2019, 09:07   #9
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Default re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

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The S-1 reveals that Uber paid Google approximately $58 million for the use of Google Maps between January 1, 2016 and December 2018.

Uber’s revenue of $7.93 billion in 2017 and $11.27 billion in 2018 is strong, although it continues to lose money, and says itself it may never make a profit. Overall, the Google Maps agreement is a fundamental necessity for its riders and 3.2 million drivers.
In many cases Google's contracts are also based on profit sharing, they are opportunistic big time. The fees are less for Uber considering Uber is not a profit making company and losing billions each year in promotion rides and driver incentives a model they cannot afford to come out easily in light of the various competition they face in each geography.

Coming back to the topic, I did give Uber as an example but my key point was that Google is not a charitable company and they have an eye to earn money from everything they do no matter how much a public benefit initiative those may appear.
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Old 20th May 2019, 10:04   #10
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Default Re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

I know it would seem fairly obvious, but it's pretty cool how Google Maps will show different routes for cars & motorcycles.

How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India-20190520-10.03.25.jpg

How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India-20190520-10.03.17.jpg

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they basically wanted us to replicate google maps for a pittance and in 3 months because they didn't want to pay licensing fees to google.
This client wanted to do something even Apple failed at?

Last edited by GTO : 20th May 2019 at 10:05.
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Old 20th May 2019, 10:40   #11
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Default Re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

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Originally Posted by hajaar View Post
I was leading a team that would have integrated maps/navigation into a much anticipated motorcycle from one of the biggest two wheeler brands in India. But we ended up cancelling the project because the client had unrealistic expectations since they basically wanted us to replicate google maps for a pittance and in 3 months because they didn't want to pay licensing fees to google.
Interesting and thanks for sharing. I use a smart watch from Samsung which has a third party app (also runs as service in Android phone), both are linked via Bluetooth, every time I open map app, watch reflects directions in crisp manner within restrictive real estate of watch screen. Can't something similar be tried on a 2W dash screen ?
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Old 20th May 2019, 10:51   #12
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Default Re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

Unfortunately, Google uses our help, but does not share the data with any of the Open map projects. I was enthusiastic initially when Google used to ask me for help "to help others", but now that I realise I'm just a cog in their money making machine, my response is lukewarm to cold.
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Old 20th May 2019, 11:48   #13
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Default Re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

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This article prompts me to try the bike mode today evening. Lets see what is really so different.
Be warned, it may take you through roads which are nothing more than 3 feet wide unpaved alleyways. Thanks to two wheeler mode on gmaps, I've ridden on an under pass across a railway track where I had to bend my head lest it get hit by a train
The worst thing was that my wife was with me.
After that episode, I've stopped using two wheeler mode. My funda - stick to main roads & leave the innermost lanes for walkers or cyclists.

This feature of Maps may appear cool or highly useful but it's actually highly dicey.
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Old 20th May 2019, 12:14   #14
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$58 million seems like a small fee for functionality Uber cannot exist without — especially since $58 million is little more than a rounding error for Google, which took home $39.2 billion in revenue for Q4 2018 alone last year.

Uber’s revenue of $7.93 billion in 2017 and $11.27 billion in 2018 is strong, although it continues to lose money, and says itself it may never make a profit. Overall, the Google Maps agreement is a fundamental necessity for its riders and 3.2 million drivers.[/i]
This depends on how the contracting was done. At the initial stages, when UBER was small, Google must have charged Uber looking at the project scale which they must have assessed internally. And UBER has outgrown expectations by a fair margin.
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Old 20th May 2019, 12:37   #15
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Default Re: How Google Maps worked with Motorcyclists in India

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$58 million seems like a small fee for functionality Uber cannot exist without — especially since $58 million is little more than a rounding error for Google, which took home $39.2 billion in revenue for Q4 2018 alone last year.

Uber’s revenue of $7.93 billion in 2017 and $11.27 billion in 2018 is strong, although it continues to lose money, and says itself it may never make a profit. Overall, the Google Maps agreement is a fundamental necessity for its riders and 3.2 million drivers.[/i]
We do not know how much other Mapping companies quoted to Uber during the evaluation of the deal.
Google couldn't have charged obnoxiously high compared to the competitors - no matter how great the solution.

Actually on the flip side, if I was the negotiator from Uber's side: my pitch would be: we are helping your mapping solution get accurate simply because of the amount of our vehicles and drivers on the road - hence Mr Google, we recommend you offer your gMaps for free!

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Be warned, it may take you through roads which are nothing more than 3 feet wide unpaved alleyways. Thanks to two wheeler mode on gmaps, I've ridden on an under pass across a railway track where I had to bend my head lest it get hit by a train
The worst thing was that my wife was with me.
After that episode, I've stopped using two wheeler mode. My funda - stick to main roads & leave the innermost lanes for walkers or cyclists.

This feature of Maps may appear cool or highly useful but it's actually highly dicey.
Well so I actually used it on Friday and today - Monday.
Absolutely no difference in the route compared to CAR mode (that may be because I live not that far from office and there are no gulleys in the route)

AND absolutely no different in the way map is displayed or route narrated to me compared to CAR mode.



So the only difference that comes about from the discussion is that BIKE mode take narrow or unpaved roads also into consideration while optimizing the route.



Looks like the Forbes articles is by a shill to project the image that Google working on something great every now and then ...

Last edited by alpha1 : 20th May 2019 at 12:45.
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