Wikipedia apps for Android and iPhone ditch Google Maps

OpenStreetMap now the default mapping service for 'nearby view' feature

Tech companies are abandoning Google Maps like rats leaving a sinking ship. Online encylopedia Wikipedia is the latest to abandon Google for OpenStreetMaps

Wikipedia has become the latest company to turn its back on Google Maps in an update to its iPhone and Android applications.

The online encyclopedia has followed in the footsteps of Apple, MIcrosoft and Foursquare, which have all given their backing to the open source OpenStreetMaps mapping service in recent times.

The company says the switch makes the 'nearby view' feature compatible with more Android handsets, that often don't have access to Google's branded applications, while also providing users with a more open solution.

Wikipedia says: "Previous versions of our application used Google Maps for the nearby view. This has now been replaced with OpenStreetMaps – an open and free source of Map Data that has been referred to as ‘Wikipedia for Maps.’ This closely aligns with our goal of making knowledge available in a free and open manner to everyone.

"This also means we no longer have to use proprietary Google APIs in our code, which helps it run on the millions of cheap Android handsets that are purely open source and do not have the proprietary Google applications."

The trend follows Google's decision to start charging high volume users a fee to access its Maps API. TechCrunch speculates that, although Wiki may qualify for a grant from Google, its decision to ditch the Big G may be a direct result of these planned charges.

Other changes for the iOS app include the ability to save pages to 'read it later' while users can also perform full text searches. On Android, the update is a little more modest, bringing an improved tablet interface (it already has full text searches).

Via: TechCrunch, TheNextWeb