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Ola Launches Ola Maps, Ditches Google, To Save ₹100 Crore Annually

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Ola Launches Ola Maps, Ditches Google, To Save ₹100 Crore Annually
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Now, there’s an alternative to Google Maps! Yes, you heard it right. Ola has launched its own mapping service, Ola Maps, which gives you more road navigation control. This marks a departure from their previous reliance on Google Maps for navigation.

Effective July 5, 2024, the transition aims to streamline operations and offer a more localized mapping experience for drivers and passengers. Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO, shared the news on Twitter. Following its exit from Azure last month, stating they had fully transitioned away from Google Maps. By moving completely to its in-house Ola Maps, the company is looking to save ₹100 crores annually.

Operating revenue for Ola Cabs in the financial year 2018 and 2023

In FY23, the company registered an operating revenue of ₹. 28 billion. Year-over-year, the operating revenue increased by ~ 42% compared to the previous year. The major share of its revenue in that year was generated by ride-hailing.

(in billion Indian rupees)(in billion Indian rupees)

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Source: Statista

The company’s India mobility business reported a standalone profit of ₹250 crore in FY23, recovering from a ₹66 crore loss in FY22. Additionally, the company’s revenue increased by 58%, reaching ₹2,135 crore in FY23, up from ₹1,350 crore in FY22.

Let’s delve into the reasons behind the launch of the mapping service.

Unveiling the Reasons Behind In-house Maps

Ola’s decision to develop an in-house mapping solution stems from a multifaceted approach. Here’s a closer look at the potential driving forces:

  • Cost Reduction: Switching from a third-party service like Google Maps to an internal solution like Ola Maps has saved significant costs. The CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal, highlighted this aspect, stating that the switch would save around ₹100 crore annually.
  • Data Independence and Control: Relying on an external mapping service means dependence on their data and functionalities. Developing Ola Maps allows the company to control its navigation data and potentially tailor it to suit better the specific needs of the Indian market, including addressing any potential gaps in Google Maps’ coverage.
  • Integration and Customization: With an in-house mapping solution, the company can integrate navigation seamlessly with its existing ride-hailing app. This integration could potentially lead to a more streamlined user experience and allow for future customization of features specific to Ola’s services.
  • Long-Term Vision of Self-Reliance: Ola’s shift to in-house solutions such as Ola Maps reflects a broader trend among Indian companies aiming for technological independence. This move highlights their goal to create local solutions tailored to the specific needs of the Indian market.

Unveiling the Features of Ola Maps

While details of Ola Maps are still emerging, here’s what we know so far:

  • Focus on Core Functionality: In its initial stages, Ola Maps is expected to prioritize core functionalities crucial for ride-hailing operations, such as accurate real-time navigation, traffic updates, and route optimization.
  • Leveraging Acquisitions: Ola’s acquisition of GeoSpoc, a Pune-based geospatial services company, in October 2021 is likely to be a key contributor to the development of Ola Maps. GeoSpoc’s geospatial data and services expertise could provide a strong foundation for the new mapping platform.
  • Future Feature Expansion: Bhavish Aggarwal has hinted at the potential inclusion of features like street view, 3D maps, and indoor navigation. This expansion could make Ola Maps a more comprehensive navigation tool beyond just ride-hailing purposes.

Now, let’s discuss Google’s revenue and profits. In the latest fiscal year, Google reported revenue of $305.6 billion, driven largely by advertising revenue totaling $237.8 billion in 2023. As of August 2023, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, ranked second among global internet firms, with a market capitalization of $1.65 billion. In the first quarter of 2024, google generated revenue exceeding $79.9 billion, an increase from $69.4 billion recorded in the same quarter of the previous year.

Annual revenue of Google from 2002 to 2023

(in billion U.S. dollars)

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Source: Statista

Potential Implications and Considerations

Ola’s foray into mapping presents both opportunities and challenges for the company and the Indian ride-hailing industry:

  • Competition and Innovation: The introduction of Ola Maps could spark further competition in the Indian mapping space, potentially leading to innovation and improved services for users.
  • User Adoption and Familiarity: Encouraging user adoption of a new mapping platform might require a period of adjustment, especially for those used to Google Maps. The user interface and functionalities of Ola Maps will be crucial in determining its acceptance.
  • Data Accuracy and Comprehensiveness: Building a robust and comprehensive map requires significant data collection and maintenance investment. The accuracy and detail offered by Ola Maps compared to established players like Google Maps will be closely monitored.

The Future of Navigation in Indian Ride-Hailing

Only time will tell how successful Ola Maps will be in navigating the competitive landscape. While the potential benefits of cost savings, data control, and future customization seem attractive, user adoption challenges, data accuracy, and established competition cannot be ignored.

The move by Ola is a significant development within the Indian ride-hailing industry. It signifies a growing trend of domestic companies striving for technological self-reliance and potentially fostering a more competitive mapping ecosystem. Whether Ola Maps will become a dominant force or simply offer an alternative option for users remains to be seen. One thing is certain: the journey ahead promises to be an interesting one, with implications for both Ola and the broader Indian tech landscape.

FAQs

  1. What features will Ola Maps offer?

    Initially, Ola Maps will focus on ride-hailing core functionalities such as real-time navigation, traffic updates, and route optimization. Future plans might include street view, 3D maps, and indoor navigation.

  2. How will Ola Maps compare to Google Maps?

    It's still early to say definitively. User adoption, data accuracy, and established competition from Google Maps are factors to consider. However, Ola Maps could spark competition, leading to innovation and improved services for users.

  3. Will I have to switch to Ola Maps?

    No. You can still use the Ola app with Google Maps integration if you prefer. However, Ola will likely encourage users to try Ola Maps as they develop the platform further.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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