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Take That, Google! MapQuest Snags OnStar Deal

Given my current obsession with digital mapping and all things location-based, don’t be surprised if you see more short news blurbs here about deals such as the one announced by AOL’s MapQuest and General Motor’s OnStar. OnStar is launching a new service called eNav, which, as their press release states:

…will allow subscribers to have directions sent from their computer to specially-equipped vehicles. Once the directions have been sent to the user’s car, they can then be accessed via voice-guided commands. In 2009, under the terms of the agreement, eNav users will be able to download directions directly to their vehicle’s screen-based navigation system.

The eNav service, which piloted last year under the name “Web Destination Entry,” is available to all of GM’s 2.65 million Turn-by-Turn-capable vehicles as of today. (See video below the fold)

OnStar is also announcing another new service, called Destination Download, which enables users to interact with the navigation system while driving.

OnStar subscribers with screen-based navigation systems can press a button and be connected to an adviser. This adviser will then find the driver’s location, send it to the system and an icon will pop up on the car’s screen prompting the driver to input where he/she wants to go. Once the system is notified of a final destination point, it then sends turn-by-turn directions and drivers can continue on their journey.

The deal is a big shot in the arm for MapQuest, which has lost much of the market’s attention to more Web 2.0-savvy mapping services from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. (It’s also beginning to lose some traction in terms of traffic.) And it’s the second major GPS deal for MapQuest in less than a week; the company announced a partnership with Garmin on Monday.

OnStar and MapQuest are two perfect examples of stand-alone businesses that are buried in large corporations and as such, are worthy spin-out candidates.

15 Responses to “Take That, Google! MapQuest Snags OnStar Deal”

  1. Graham Anderson

    MapQuest is a perfect example of AOL’s complete inability to build decent international products. While they have updated their UK maps to a format more acceptable to local users, they have no aerial photography beyond that you could get from Mars, and no London tube/rail information. Lame, lame, lame.

    Meanwhile, Google have launched an intuitive and rich mapping product that works for every country I have tried it – and its been that way since day one.

  2. VTFootballGrad

    Mapquest was sweet when it first came out, but it usually took you the long way to most places. Google maps are so much more direct and if there not you can change the course if you know a better route. Plus you get the street view with google maps.

  3. And thats not the only place MQ is being more competitive: their latest developer API offering also has some features that are appealing in comparison with Google Maps; in particular, I’m thinking about the rate limits, static map dimensions, “theming” and the use of NAVTEQ data. We just swapped Google out for MapQuest at our location-based social blogging site: http://www.spotjots.com (for static maps; we still use GM or VE for non-static). The site is still a work in progress, so who knows how many implementations we’ll go through…but the more options, the better.

  4. @ Greg Sterling

    I think this is a new deal, surely an extension to their previous partnership/relationship. But still, i think itis a meaningful move for the company that was seen as losing all relevancy. Greg, what is your breakdown on the whole mapping from a local perspective, and how Google and others are doing? I know you spend a lot of time on this subject.

  5. daylatedollarshort

    Leave it to Mapquest and GM to think they are selling something novel. This functionality has been available for Telenav users for over a year.

  6. Wow, mapquest is without a doubt the worst mapping service out there. Of course anyone who relies on spoken navigation directions or calls to an advisor kinda deserves to get lost. Just buy a GPS for your car and stop paying for onstar!