Google regained only 40% of the mobile traffic it lost when Apple replaced Google Maps with its own app on iPhones. (Unsplash)News 

Executive Reveals Impact of Apple Maps on Google’s Map Traffic

During the antitrust trial against Alphabet Inc., a Google executive testified that despite Apple Inc. replacing Google Maps with its own app on iPhones two years ago, Google has only managed to regain 40% of the mobile traffic it previously had on its mapping service.

Google Vice President Michael Roszak said Tuesday that the company used the Apple Maps switch as a “data point” in modeling what might happen if the iPhone maker replaced Google’s search engine as the default in Apple’s Safari browser.

In a June 2020 email to his manager at the time, Roszak shared information about how Apple’s switch affected the use of Google Maps on iPhones.

“Nearly 2 years later, we were at ~40% of the previous peak (and assumed the actual loss was greater since Apple Maps usage also increased this time), Roszak wrote in an email presented in court. Roszak’s chart in the email showing Google Maps usage on the iPhone was removed from the public version of the document.

The Justice Department alleges that Google has illegally maintained a monopoly on online search by paying billions of dollars to ensure that its search engine is the pre-selected option known as the default on web browsers and smartphones. Google’s biggest deal is with Apple, which made Google the default setting in Safari in exchange for a share the search engine earns from advertising.

The exact amount of money that Google pays Apple for its default mode is not public. The Justice Department said in its opening statement that Google would pay between $4 billion and $7 billion for Safari neglect in 2020 — a statement that drew a protest from Apple’s lawyers the next day because it was a public estimate and not an actual figure.

Roszak said Tuesday that he was not aware of any data kept by Google on how many users change the default settings on their browsers or mobile phones. The Apple Maps example was “one data point that we’ve used” to gauge how iPhone owners might react to a change in the default search setting, he said.

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