New Google Maps Maker Has Mashup Makers On The Run

from the do-it-yourself dept

Today, Google announced a new service called My Maps that makes it easy for anyone to build their own Google map for things like "favorite barbecue joints in Texas" or "best art galleries in New York". It's already generating an enthusiastic response, and it wouldn't be a surprise if it became a popular service, since most people don't already know how to build their own. There are, however, some startups that are focused mainly on letting people build their own maps, and there's some concern that Google's entry into this space (if it can really be called a space) will destroy these startups. The sentiment is that Google shouldn't be killing off an ecosystem that was built around a platform it created. Of course, most users of the internet have never heard of companies like Platial and Frappr, which help users build their own Google Maps. With Google's announcement many more people are now aware of this capability, which is definitely a good thing. If these companies can't survive now that Google has introduced this, it underlines the danger of building an entire company as a feature on top of another service. Ultimately, it's not even clear that Google's move represents instant death for anyone. If these startups are able to continue to innovate around the idea of maps and location based services, Google's rudimentary offering shouldn't be a problem.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Matt, 5 Apr 2007 @ 7:22pm

    easy to use

    tried it out earlier today, seems very simple to use. will probably be a big hit i'm guessing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Simon F., 5 Apr 2007 @ 7:33pm

    Really nice

    I tried it out and it's pretty useful. Just for myself, I can easily keep track of every places I need to know (say, my friend's places) on a easy to use interface.

    It just begs me to do it. It's actually very fun to work with it, that can only be a good thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    vern, 5 Apr 2007 @ 8:30pm

    Solves a problem

    I live in the boonies, and giving directions can be a problem, especially for people who aren't happy without street signs. With a combination of map and photos, I may be able to help them find me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul, 5 Apr 2007 @ 10:09pm

    Bad analogy time!

    This is kind of like if someone opened up a hotdog stand somewhere and only sold hotdogs.. then someone else set up a lemonade stand right next to it to sell drinks to the thirsty hotdog eaters.. what is the smart thing to do? well the hotdog stand owner started selling lemonade along with the hotdogs.. people would rather order once than twice so naturally no one went to the lemonade stand.

    Was the hotdog owner in the wrong for destroying "an ecosystem" that he himself created?
    no

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Direct Textbooks, 5 Apr 2007 @ 10:19pm

    Mashups is not automatically a business

    If you are relying on other services to power your own (I do) you had better come up with a unique proposition and a backup plan if they cut you off.

    If not, what you have is simply not a business. It's a project, it's a hobby, but it's not something you are building to last when it's built on someone else's whim.

    Google using its own maps is nothing compared to when they just discontinued a bunch of SOAP services earlier this year. Just ended them altogether. My spelling correction stopped working, and I had to come up with something else.

    Anyway, just irritating sometimes when people build something on a free service then get upset when it disappears-- Google would be being evil to its shareholders to not take advantage of its position as much as it can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Luistxo Fernandez, Tagzania, 6 Apr 2007 @ 1:01am

    Tagzania thinks positively about My Maps

    I see this as a positive move towards a wider adoption of the concept of "personal geography", which I think is an idea not very much extended among mainstream Internet users, and we see opportunities there for Tagzania, one of those social mapping apps.

    It's also interesting to see Google catching up with concepts that we had clear when we launched Tagzania.com in 2005: create your maps, adopt GeoRSS... Obviously, we have to push further, being ahead of Google is like an interesting challenge.

    On the business level, others will feel more pressure. Ours is a side project for a small company, sustainable so far, and feeling no pressure from investors or the bubble-burst-buzz around. Our focus is strengthen the features of Tagzania to better please users, and don't care much about Techcrunch gossip or how others may be sweating. As for the big actors, Google, Yahoo: We see their adoption of standards as a positive move, and the availability of APIs and web resources that precisely those giants are pushing, that's only good news for us. Then they add direct services that start-ups have imagined first, but, of course, we know that's going to happen some day, with this, that and many other things. But ther's room for niches and tailored community websites or services, no doubt about this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mal, 6 Apr 2007 @ 2:21am

    "If these companies can't survive now that Google has introduced this, it underlines the danger of building an entire company as a feature on top of another service."

    As someone who looked at building a site and service around Google maps some time ago, I seem to recall that most of the services Google offers are usually still considered in beta, and that commercial use of those services may be subject to restriction and limitations.

    In any case, building a business model on fluid, changing software tools that are still evolving is a road ripe with potholes, detours and dead ends. A best case scenario for most of these services you're talking about was probably to hope to be bought by Google. Any hopes of building a profitable business otherwise would have to factor in the reality that they'd eventually be expected to license commercial use of the services.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jonathan, 6 Apr 2007 @ 12:09pm

    beggining or the end

    My Maps is lacking a key feature that many do-it-yourself map sites that use the GMaps API offer. I don't see an entire industry or Web 2.0 dying because of this Google release - unless Google steps up the ante.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.