More observations from Where2.0 – a theme I picked on at this year’s event was that the map is becoming much more than a map, rather, its now the UI of choice, even a platform of choice. Google is a fine example of this as we see the emergence of Google on Maps (as opposed to Google Maps).
Users of Google maps now find detailed business listings, POIs, and much more. Just this week the addition of public transit information (access train routes and times for San Francisco) as well as loads of local information like photos (Panoramio) and Wikis. Google Maps now has a new Tab if you hadn’t noticed the “More” Tab. As you zoom in on an area of interest, you can easily toggle photos and Wikis. When you view a place, for example, a hotel of interest, users can edit the bubble location and drop it onto of a building (maybe at the centroid) – users must be logged in to their google account to do this and a changelog is maintained. Since local search is what people want, there’s much more coming to the map including news results (zoom in tight and news postings applicable to that place will appear). Real estate is another hot topic on the web so naturally, Google maps will be integrating real estate listings to the map service as well – users even having the ability to query and filter search results (show me houses w/ 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, under $500K for example).
Finally, also under the heading of “New” from google maps, user created content. Example, search for Airport Marriott, Burlingame, CA and then notice the lower-left side-bar where you’ll find Google search hits that apply to that place. I was returned with a job listing for the hotel, rental car info, and caltrain directions to the hotel. Who needs to go to google.com??? For my local search I’ll be going to google.com/maps
or maybe to Platial as well! FYI, Platial has loads of great new features and the new LightPole mobile Widget really rocks… give it a try!