Mapquest Integrates Skyhook Location to Surmount GPS Limitations

Mapquest and Skyhook Wireless announced today that Skyhook's "Hybrid Location System" would be deployed in Mapquest's Android navigation app. The idea is that GPS is unreliable much of the time, as the press release explains:

Frequent users of navigation apps on smartphones know the headaches of trying to start a trip from inside a parking garage, or of following a route through the urban canyons of New York City. Everyone has a story of the costly wrong turn made due to a lost GPS signal and delayed navigation. These issues are primarily a result of the limitations in relying on GPS satellites, also a handicap of many other navigation apps.  By using Skyhook’s unique combination of Wi-Fi signals and GPS, MapQuest avoids these common GPS headaches.

The free navigation app from Mapquest offers voice search and voice turn-by-turn navigation, traffic and local search. It's a very nice offering -- and free. The challenge for any mapping or navigation provider on Android handsets is similar to the challenge of any search provider on the PC that isn't Google.

Google Navigation is so deeply integrated into the whole mobile search and mapping experience on Android that a competitor has to be superior (or better) to get attention and usage. However Mapquest has huge brand equity, which goes some distance to overcoming the "inertia" around Google Navigation on Android.

According to Hitwise, Google Maps and Maquest are the top two travel sites in the Us. However Mapquest is the top "branded" travel search term.

Top 10 US Travel Sites (per Hitwise): 

  1. Google Maps
  2. MapQuest
  3. Expedia
  4. Southwest Airlines
  6. Yahoo! Travel
  7. TripAdvisor
  8. Bing maps
  9. Yahoo! Maps
  10. Orbitz