Apple Maps Data Sources

The Apple Maps fiasco on iOS 6 needs no introduction, but it’s of interest to note that the data sources that Apple pulls map data from differ not only based on the location being viewed, but also based on where the user is viewing the data from (I don’t know how widely known this is). For example, when I’m in Hong Kong, I get data from an unknown source, but when I’m in China, I get data for the entire world provided by AutoNavi.

Ironically, the maps I get for Hong Kong are better when viewed from China than when viewed from Hong Kong itself!

Here are a few comparison shots (left side view from China/right side view from Hong Kong):

Google Munging Search Result URIs

I just noticed that Google is munging search result URIs. For example, if you run a search on “mozilla”, the first result is However, the URI that they link to on the search results page is:

I suspect that the usg parameter is probably one used to prevent bots from gaming whatever results they’re trying to garner, and possibly also to link clicked search results to a specific user or browser session. I understand why they do this, but the downside for the end user is that the copy link option in the context menu of any browser is no longer useful. One needs to actually follow the link to get the URL in a form that you can copy into another application.

From my perspective, this is a pretty major usability bug, and I hope they revert it.