Google is announcing a new service, My Maps, that allows anyone to create their own Google Maps-based mashups, reports The Wall Street Journal. Essentially, anyone can go in and plot all the great Thai restaurants in San Francisco, and save it as SF Thai Food Maps. You can also attach YouTube videos to these maps. Think map mashups for dummies! Microsoft already offers a similar feature with its stellar and constantly improving Live Search Maps service.
The consequences of Google’s announcement could be quite dire for a gaggle of map mashup start-ups including Platial, Frappr, Flagr and Plazes, to name a few — that have raised millions of dollars in venture capital.
Some use the Google Maps API as an underpinning for their offering. They now face the prospect of competing with Google, which also controls the API. However, a quick review of Google’s new service gives upstarts an edge on user friendliness, even though on their blog, Google claims even caveman can do it.
Google’s announcement shows that social mapping and geo-tagging are now a big enough opportunity for the company to take seriously. It also points to a larger trend – location-based services and how they are increasingly becoming part of information aggregation and sorting technologies.
Google, like its peers, is realizing that in the future when digital content explodes exponentially, context will become more important. Especially, when it comes to local search. MyMaps are a quick way to provide some context. It will only be a matter of time before these Google-hosted map mash-ups start showing up next to local search results.
Yahoo was the first search company to realize that people-powered search was a way for it to deliver more relevant and contextual information. Google My Maps is a tip-of-the-hat to people: after all if the machine could build these cool mash-ups, Google wouldn’t have had to launch My Maps.
PS: We couldn’t help but notice the name of this new offering – My Maps – just like My Yahoo! Is it the start of Yahoofication of Google?
52 thoughts on “Google MyMaps Smashes Mash-ups”
Just for clarification:
We really don´t like to view Plazes as a map mash-up. Plazes bridges your physical presence with your digital identity. It allows you to publish your current geo-presence through different check-in channels like our new SMS service.
It is about where you are and where your friends are. Not about POIs plotted on a map.
That presence data is presented in many different ways, from the Website on a Google Map to your blog badge or as a text message to your friends.
Apparently the link to the WSJ article, has been inserted as a mailto link…
Yes indeed; great risk when companies build on the technology (platforms) of others…with (usually) no IP protection in sight…
I see the biggest danger of this to Platial etc. in the adoption by new users. Whoever already uses the startup’s services will probably stick around – but all the not-so-early adopters will simply use google mymaps now.
You forgot about Wayfaring which is the best of the lot…
I really dig Google MyMaps. I think it could be really useful. I wonder if you’ll start seeing little buttons on other apps which say “Save location to Google MyMaps.
thanks for the tip. I fixed it.
my bad on Wayfaring… yes they are pretty cool.
Yahoo Maps is really lagging behind now. I wonder if they have something up their sleeves, especially after facing tough competition from Microsoft and Google.
I’m with Narends. Wayfaring rocks. I’m also checking out http://www.stridemaps.com/. I’m really reaching the limit of how many services I want under Google’s (direct) control.
MyMaps; spiffy tool, spiffier name. I’m not sure if this tool helps to better one mapping system over the other, but novice user adoption of ez-mashups should be an interesting segment to watch.
It never really took off with Ning the way it should have, but official Maps, Music & Media Mashups from Google, Ask, Yahoo, MSN will find their market.
Why myMaps? mySpace. mySpace users start mapping their travel destinations and local hangouts on these mapping tools and suddenly Google Maps has a new viral distribution system which opens up new forms of monetization, local search options, storefront physical information and the ability to find areas and locales which are not businesses or traditional landmarks.
So this story continues. Some small startup introduces innovative service based upon some open API’s from big names like Google etc. Big guys catch up(copy) and shuts the small services. Did you notice the tussle between Alexa and Alexaholic. I couldn’t understand how VC’s are blind to this strategy game before investing.
We launch in beta 3 weeks ago a new tool called Click2Map (http://www.click2map.com) to create and manage maps. We have so far a great feedback by our users (more than 2,000 users in 3 weeks).
You can imagine how this new “competitor” 😉 affected us when we first saw the news!
But in fact after a little debate with our team we think that it is an opportunity to us to always innovate more and more. We are going to announce next week new features in our rich map editor (http://blog.click2map.com).
I think its a great interface. I welcome the competition. I think they have a ways to catch up to a lot of independent sites. Grapheety has ratings, a unified map, comments, friends, contests, etc.
Grapheety’s goal is to digitally explore an area. Google’s attempt is closer to flagr.com
This kind of disruption was inevitable. There is a rapidly growing geospatial web and they have in many ways elevated the importance of it. While no entrepreneur is excited about potentially competing with Google, it had to happen. This is an indicator of something very interesting in new kinds of collaborative business models. For example; apis in and out and remixing. There are a number of friend/foe relationships that spring up when you have alliances and markets with rapidly evolving needs. Our business will be disrupted too in some ways but it was time. We needed a new conversation to get us beyond the limiting concept of mash-ups. A year ago many of our services looked the same but now you see differentiation start to emerge. As well Google has (for now) carved a small/clear piece of this and hasn’t entered into the community aspects. For now, we need to count ourselves among the Google friend/foes which are rapidly increasing!
Does anyone know if this feature will allow commercial entities, ie Wireless Mesh Network Providers to use this map in their Portal to designate Coverage areas and possible future Location based Marketing functions??
Or is this just for private individual use??
Hey, is anyone else encountering this bug? I made a map on MyMaps and sent it to my friend, and now every single time I hit “Compose Mail” on my Gmail, it poulates the subject with “google maps” and populates the body of the email with the link to my map…SUPER annoying.
Key missing feature of at least this first release of Google MyMaps is the ability to mass import points of interest.
Check http://www.weogeo.com they are doing some interesting work.
world class software that truly uses the masses to build it’s intelligence… bravo google.
If you have some maps you would like to share you should post them on http://ongopongo.com/maps/
A few points for the death of Google Maps mashups:
As a map mashup owner that uses Google Maps API, I still have a database of locations that Google does not have. It is this location metadata that is valuable to the end user, not necessarily the ability to create new maps.
This MyMaps exposure generates more interests in maps. End users will search for more maps, and hopefully they will continue to find my site and others. Content is king, and creating an accurate map still requires a tremendous amount of offline effort.
I still haven’t seen a decent business model around map mashups that doesn’t involve significant advertising dollars. As a mashup maker, are we suggesting that our map content is less valuable than a text ad from Google?
If Google can borrow from us, we can definitely borrow from Google in improving our own maps.
No one mentioned http://MapBuilder.net – the first Google Maps DIY tool which was launched way back in July 2005.
Yet another doomed Google product.
Watch it dissapear in a few months after they realize people don’t have a need for drawing crazy lines on maps.
I actually contradict a few of the comments above and feel that this is a very useful tool for an avid map user like myself.
It is once again in direct competition with a Microsoft Product, Streets and Trips. Yes, you cannot access it on the go, but for routes that you take very often, instead of charting it again and again, it is much easier to store and reference.
Drawing lines, posting travel guides, etc are all added bells and whistles typical of a map package.
But I think this is a neat personalization from Google.
fatdoor is going to destroy google mymaps and platial. im a beta tester, this thing is going to change things in a big way.
There are loads of sem companies mushrooming in for ppc management on google maps.