Apple Maps vs. Google Maps vs. Waze


In early 2017, a conversation with yet another Waze fanboy finally nudged me to start a navigation app experiment. I was skeptical that the Alphabet owned company could meaningfully best its parent’s home grown Google Maps. I was also curious whether Apple Maps had discovered competence since its iOS 6 release.

I thus set out to answer three questions:

  • Which navigation app estimates the shortest travel time?
  • How does each app over/underestimate travel times?
  • Which navigation app actually gets you to your destination most quickly?

Which led to these three conclusions:

  • If you want to get to your destination most quickly, use Google Maps.
  • If you want an accurate prediction from your navigation app to help you arrive at your destination on time, use Apple Maps.
  • If thinking you’ll get to your destination quickly helps to ease your commuter anxiety, use Waze.

Very interesting. Obviously, this is a relatively small sample size. It’d be interesting if there was some way to crowd-source this experiment to come up with a map overlay that showed which solution worked best in a specific area.