Google Maps isn't the best navigation app out there. Here is the real winner

The best location platform might surprise you...

Google Maps
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google Maps is, without a doubt, the most popular navigation app out there. It's pre-installed on every Android smartphone, it's completely free, and does most things people need when it comes to navigation.

For example, you can get offline maps for when you're driving without an internet connection, it'll automatically re-route you to avoid bad traffic, and with Android Auto and Google Assistant now bundled in, it'll also control your music and allow you to contact people with voice commands.

This doesn’t mean Google Maps is the best navigation app currently on the market, though, as a new analysis conducted by Counterpoint Research ranked all of the location services in seven categories, including maps data, location services, the developer ecosystem, and partners.

Google Maps only placed second in Counterpoint's analysis, with the search giant scoring well in terms of comprehensiveness, coverage, POIs, and freshness of the maps data and adding newer capabilities such as Augmented Reality in the consumer space leveraging with 3.5 billion Android users globally.

Overall, though, it's HERE that takes the location platform crown for the fifth year running. According to Counterpoint, in the last 18 months, HERE has expanded its portfolio, platform capabilities partnerships and customer base handsomely to widen the gap with rivals leading across all the categories, setting a gold standard of an ideal location data platform for the technology industry. 

Counterpoint says, "HERE has become “Switzerland of location platform” with an open, neutral and privacy-centric offering compared to Google"

Basically, not only is HERE award-winning software, but it also won due to its investments in expanding the portfolio and working with more partners worldwide.

Following up in third place is TomTom, which scored well when it comes to navigation, offline maps coverage, and location intelligence capabilities. 

Counterpoint says  “TomTom launched a number of mapping and navigation products focusing on newer opportunities such as Electric Vehicle services, ADAS & HD Maps, Digital Cockpit for the new generation cars"

"Another area where TomTom has done well is cracking maps data licensing deals with marquee clients such as Microsoft (Bing & Azure Maps), Huawei, Apple, Carto and others expanding its reach and enriching its location data."

Of course, Google has been working hard recently to close this gap, as the company tries to convince more carmakers to adopt Android Automotive as the operating system powering their vehicles. The Android-based operating system can already be found in Renault, Volvo, and Polestar cars, and that list is expected to grow over the coming years.

Will this research make you consider trying HERE maps over Google Maps? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

If you're old-school and prefer a dedicated navigation device, you can check out our guide to the best sat nav, and if you're safety conscious then you should read our guide on the best dash cams.

Spencer Hart
Style and Travel Editor

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over seven years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.