AWS takes the fight to Google Maps with Amazon Location Services

AWS takes the fight to Google Maps with Amazon Location Services
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Five and a half months after unveiling a preview, Amazon Web Services on Tuesday announced the general availability of Amazon Location Services, a solution that can be integrated into applications for location-based functionalities.  

With the launch, cloud services heavyweight AWS is expected to take on location based services (LBS) offered by rivals such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, Microsoft Azure Maps, and a host of other players.  

With ALS, customers will be able to use features such as digital maps, points of interest, geo-coding (converting location information to a point on a map), route planning and geo-fencing capabilities. 

The preview of ALS was launched on December 17, 2020. According to industry watchers, although ALS was behind Google Maps in terms of features, its pricing was lower and is available on a pay-as-you use model. Additionally, the research and technology capabilities of AWS could help the company scale ALS at a faster rate of adoption, which could give it an edge over other players in the market. 

Current LBS leader Google Maps API has a current market share of 61.82% and is being used by over 20 lakh websites, per market analysis website Datanyze, 

Now with the general launch, AWS said that it has priced the service at 1/10th the cost of the “most common LBS providers”.  

“With built-in support for tracking and geofencing and a number of use cases that are as low as 1/10th the cost of the most common LBS providers, Amazon Location Service is pretty compelling for any company,” Bill Vass, VP of technology at AWS said in a statement.  

AWS has partnered with HERE Technologies, which has been in the business of digital location services since 1985, along with Redland, California based Geographic information systems (GIS) mapping company ESRI, which has worked in the segment since 1969. ESRI claims it has a share of 43% in the global GIS market.  

Watch: HERE’s Abhijit Sengupta on the potential for location-based services in India 

Today, privacy/security compromises, high pricing, and difficult integration processes are some of the major hurdles in the location data tracking market, AWS said.  

According to the Seattle, Washington headquartered company, other location based service providers impose terms such as giving the rights to access and commercialize customer’s data. Examples of such data includes position of users, facilities and vehicles.  

“Amazon Location Service gives customers complete control of their location data. Amazon Location Service removes customer metadata and account information from queries before they are sent to an LBS provider,” Amazon in the statement.  

The company added that the solution will have ready integration with its other service offerings such as Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, Amazon EventBridge, and AWS security services, among others.