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Posted at 12:35 am

2006 Dec 8

Google Maps for Mobile: Wow 1

This
week Howard forwarded a link to www.google.com/gmm. I downloaded the new Google Maps for Mobile
from my Blackberry 8700C and had it running in about 2 minutes. It was apparent in about another 2 minutes
that GMM was an amazing application like I’d never seen before, and my one
word reply to his email was "wow."

Phone_en

I’ve
now spent a couple days using it around San Francisco and the Bay Area, and I’m
even more impressed, and I think it represents a real breakthrough in the way
mobile applications will be delivered in the future.   Using a fast, rich, task-specific mobile app like this is a completely different experience than accessing web sites with a tiny
mobile browser.

 

The
first thing you notice is the quality of the image and the speed, and how
smoothly it scrolls to adjacent areas and zooms in and out. It takes full advantage of the Blackberry screen size and scroll wheel.  The location entry is another great
improvement even compared to most online mapping sites – instead of having to type in pre-defined fields you merely type
as much as you know; the full address, just a zip code, or even an airport
code like SFO. You can get step by step directions, instantly overlay traffic data, or switch to a satellite image view, search
for local businesses, choose from one of the nearest locations and then click to call the business.
 

This
is the third time that a Google-related mapping product has grabbed my
attention and pointed to where things were heading. The first was Keyhole, later via acquisition
to become Google Earth, where the entire earth was the interface, with flowing
global hops, zooms and satellite views of the Grand Canyon, Saddam’s palaces in Iraq, or your own
house. The second was www.HousingMaps.com, one of the first Web
2.0 mashup "reference sites" combining craigslist and Google Maps.

I think GMM represents a big step forward in what users will expect from mobile applications, and I can’t wait to see what other kinds of products and services that entrepreneurs are working on to take it even further.

 

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