Garmin announced an update to their free-online mapping site. Once again, they demonstrate that they don’t understand that they don’t understand how to manage customer relationships, as the upgrade significantly deteriorates the usability of the site.
Basically the problem is the move from Google Maps to Bing – the much poorer quality Microsoft alternative. There is a thread on the Garmin user forums that has started where complains are piling up, with links to comparisons between Bing and Google, showing how poor the Bing maps are, and it’s spawned a Facebook page for complaints apparently and numerous users are talking about taking their data elsewhere.
This is on top of the previous debacle where Garmin bought and then destroyed the old MotionBased site a few years back. Interestingly the old site is still alive and contains all my data that I uploaded to it (although no new uploads are allowed) – I wonder how long before that disappears (if ever). It took them a couple of years to actually replicate the functionality (well, most of it, anyway) that MotionBased had, and they infected it with the Web 2.0 disease that values prettiness over functionality 🙂 Actually I am probably protesting too much as the usability has been quite decent for the last year (for me – others still have issues).
Out of that fiasco I spent time manually downloading activities one by one and making sure that I kept a local copy of all my ride data, so I can move if Garmin keeps downgrading functionality, but others might be trapped and I expect that’s what Garmin wants – a captive audience where you’re held hostage to your data.
Interestingly, there’s a story floating around that Garmin wanted to close the SF office and relocate to Kansas. That triggered mass resignations (and the team announced it was for sale 🙂 ) and Garmin then hired ex-Microsoft employees – triggering the move to Bing. Good work, Garmin – you piss off staff as well as customers!