Remember when Apple launched its own maps app on the iPhone and iPad, a program so error-ridden the CEO apologized, the project leader was fired, it became the butt of jokes for months, and everyone celebrated when Google finally relaunched its much-loved maps app? Turns out, it hasn't been such a disaster for Apple and a win for Google after all. The big G has lost 23 million mobile maps users in the US, the Guardian reports. Despite the previous problems with Apple maps, some 35 million Americans used the app last month alone—out of a total 60.1 million iPhone users—compared with 58.7 million for Google Maps across both iPhone and Android devices.
That's down from 81.1 million in September last year. "For the average user, even if they have the Google Maps app, they don't use it a lot," says an analyst from ComScore, which uncovered the news. "In a narrow window [after the iOS app download became available] I'm sure there was a ton of activity, but only for a short period." Why does it matter? Because maps collect valuable data on where users are, which allows for location-based advertising, and can be sold on to other companies. "Google has lost access to a very, very important data channel in the North American market," says a mobile analyst. "This is a war of attrition." (Read more Google Maps stories.)