John Hanke, Google’s head of Maps and Earth, keynoted this morning at ILM:07 and spoke in-depth about these products’ recent announcements. These include MyLocation, terrain maps, user address corrections and enhancements to MyMaps.
Just a normal week for Google though, as the frenetic pace of feature development rages on in the mapping world. Google in fact started this with the 2005 launch of Google Maps that raised the bar in mapping features (draggable maps, Ajax, satellite imagery, etc.). This launch was a direct result of the Google Earth platform, which was brought into the fold via the acquisition of Keyhole, the company Hanke started.
User- and business-generated (LBC) content will continue to develop, according to Hanke, as the company keeps looking for ways to improve its data. In this competitive mapping space, data is a key differentiator. Reliability and data integrity were in fact named in TKG’s User View study (Wave IV) as the most valued feature in sources of local information.
Bells and whistles also go a certain distance in getting users in the door and this is exemplified most by Google Maps and arguably more so by AskCity and its mapping features. Even MapQuest has joined the fray with its new feature-rich beta product, after staying true to a simpler interface for so many years.
Next up for Google Maps will be more mobile integration as the mobile device standards will raise via iPhone and Android: “The entire Google Maps experience that we know online will be available on mobile devices,” he says.
Lastly, Hanke projects increased 3-D mapping developments a la Street View, which will have consumer appeal and also open up a great deal more mapping real estate and inventory. This has lots of implications for new ad models such as transactional or CPA-based advertising that allows users to transact with businesses through a more immersive mapping experience.
Everyscape is also starting to think in these terms for 3-D mapping as described in a past post. We’ll see what kinds of opportunities open up as the map itself opens up in new ways.