Google Maps Rethinks Mapping Applications

from the good-for-them dept

I've been playing around with the brand new Google Maps for a little while this evening, trying to figure out why it seems newsworthy, even though it's just another mapping solution, when everyone is already quite familiar with things like Mapquest or Yahoo Maps. The simple fact is, those two incumbents have done very little over the past few years to do anything more with their mapping efforts -- whereas Google Maps feels much more intuitive and useful. Yahoo recently added traffic reports, which is a nice touch, but isn't all that comprehensive. What's interesting about Google Maps is the fact that they've clearly rethought how an online mapping offering should work. They obviously took many of the ideas (and technology?) from their recent acquisition of Keyhole as the two offerings work in very similar ways, and you can tell it's just a matter of time until the service offers satellite imagery as well. Still, it shows that, yet again (as with search, web advertising and web mail), Google is taking something that many people assumed was a dead market and started again, building out a version that is much more compelling than what already existed. That, to some extent, is really the power of Google. Recognizing what's out there that isn't really good enough already (even if people don't realize it) and making it better.


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  •  
    identicon
    Bill, Feb 8th, 2005 @ 12:55pm

    I think you're missing the point

    I think you're missing the greatest feature. Zoom in on the map to street level, then search. Try "free wireless" or "free wifi" and see the results.

     

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    Erik, Feb 8th, 2005 @ 7:45pm

    interface

    It's the "interface" and not the "Internet" that the average user experiences. Google has excelled at putting a new "inter"face on an old idea (gmail, news, etc).
    I just hesitate to trust Google (or any one company, "evil" or not) with LOTS of personal information, such as search history, travel history, shopping history (froogle), email, photographs (flikr), etc....
    To many eggs in one basket.
    To many eggs in one basket.

     

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    lost squirrel, Feb 9th, 2005 @ 6:48am

    Rural and close in views still not useful. It wou

    They used a set of standard sources for the rural material, and match yahoo in that area. It is very inaccurate from the standpoint of really trying to navigate in areas away from cities, and map only what the usgs, and hydrology survey maps have digitized.

    i own a farm in southeast missouri. The roads are marked by counties by letter in most areas I have geen in. The survey maps that are used for maintence at least in the county my farm is in are numbered for convenience. The map shows the CR-### designations, and very few lettered roads. Also there are some landmarks identified on both yahoo and now google that give them away.

    it would be nice if these areas were updatable like wiki so that locals could update the designators and add landmarks that are relevent to the actually finding things, rather than the map makers trying to do it.

    only in cities do they seem to get updates that match the work and I suspect they are feasting off realtor work there.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2005 @ 1:49pm

      Re: Rural and close in views still not useful. It


      Squirrel,

      But visitors to the area - those who may use the maps more - can't use landmarks like "out where old man Anderson used to have that barn before it burned down" or "where little Audrey McAllister lives with that boy she married."

      Or is Rural Mizoora like Rural New Providence (where every road is named Mountain Ave)?

       

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        squirrel, Feb 9th, 2005 @ 11:21pm

        Re: Rural and close in views still not useful. It

        I would think that a view of a map which included terrain photo (aerial photo imagery), map overlaying that (transparently) and a third layer which would be like a crayon layer all of which would be combined into an image, where they would be switchable by user selection would be useful.

        the current map has big baloon boxes complete with shadows which point at spots on the map with the search info which appear when you fly over thumbtack markers. I would just use a different thumbtack for user added marks with text as entered by the users. It would also be google searchable.

        so if you got a direction to go to greenville mo, and go 20 miles up towards lowndes and go down to the stilts place, and my cousin had put a (lets say green is the color of user thumbtacks, because red are the google made ones) there would be a green thumbtack you could center on to the east of that spot, and you could zoom in on it and see on the google map grid where it is.

        makes your example rather appropriate too, if the hick entered his thumbtack correctly.

        Hopefully the traveling salesman who is touring the back country has comments on where daisy may and ellie live too. also which farmer's daughter dads have salt in their guns and who have buckshot.

         

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    paolo, Jul 4th, 2005 @ 4:03am

    Real playable Games on Google Maps

    I created (very easily) an animation over google maps http://sra.itc.it/people/massa/private/gmaps/gmaps_hack.html
    and i think it would be easy to create games on Google Maps.
    Then Google will be able to insert "Advertisements" in your games. They are really onto new markets, market that yet don't exist!
    See also http://www.boingboing.net/2005/06/30/google_maps_reloaded.html
    and
    http://moloko.itc.it/trustmetricswiki/moin.cgi/GamesOnGoogleMaps

     

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