Apple is going after people with experience working on Google Maps to develop its own product, according to a source with connections on both teams. Using recruiters, Apple is pursuing a strategy of luring away Google Maps employees who helped develop the search giant’s product on contract, and many of those individuals seem eager to accept due in part to the opportunity Apple represents to build new product, instead of just doing “tedious updates” on a largely complete platform.
My source — a contractor who worked on Google Maps as part of a massive undertaking to integrate Street View and newly licensed third-party data to improve European coverage, as well as develop the platform’s turn-by-turn navigation — says that when attention turned to indoor mapping, things started to become less interesting and a lot of staff began looking around for other opportunities. That turned out to be good timing for Cupertino. Here’s what my source describes happening around that time:
Many of my coworkers at Google Maps eventually left when their contracts ended or on their own accord. One guy looked around for other GIS work and ended up at Apple when a recruiter contacted him. He had heard rumors for a while that Apple was going to develop its own in-house mapping platform, and given his experience at Google, he was an easy hire. Apple went out of their way to bring him down to Cupertino and he’s now paid hansomly as a GIS Analyst. Another coworker that was a project lead at Google Maps, left for the East Coast after his contract ended, and was recently contacted by an Apple recruiter. The position sounds like a product development manager position, and will pay him $85k+ and all the moving expenses from the East Coast. He’s gone through 2 rounds of interview and seems like a frontrunner to land that position.
The interest in ex-Googlers is well-placed, he says, and it does seem like Apple is actively looking for more talent to add to its team, according to recent job listings the company has posted. And while there’s a tough road ahead for Apple playing catch-up in this area, my source believes that the possibility of building a platform that truly competes with Google Maps is well within reach for Apple.
Apple has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to build a robust mapping platform to counter Google Maps, so it doesn’t surprise me that it’s going out of its way to lure former and current Google Maps employees. At Google Maps, we know what data’s important, rendering priorities, keyword searches, and how the user experience is suppose to be. However, Apple needs to find a way to get its own 5 million miles of street view data, partner with the right folks, and spend a fortune on licensed data – which it can.