Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Holy Caipirinhaa.'s Brazil

Google Maps and Local Search go live in Brazil. Amazing.

Example: "Google near Belo Horizonte" showing user provided content (blue pinpoint) for the Google office.

Another example "pizza near the campus da UFMG" :

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Recursive queries in Google Maps....this is cool!

Google Maps now provides the amazing ability to do recursively refined queries. This means you can query for a business located near something else, for example.

"sushi near the Empire State Building, New York"

Example: "hotels near Keeneland, Lexington, KY" (the racetrack)

One more: "barbeque near Lake Travis, Austin, TX"

Google Mixes Search Results with User Contributed Content

Google Maps has started mixing official Local Search results with User Contributed content, in this case, KML files. KML (Keyhole Markup Language) is an emerging standard for encoding geo-spatial data. Google Maps now displays user provided KML files, mixed in with other Local Search results. This is particularly noticeable in the recent launches in Singapore, Ireland, and South Africa where the "official" Google results are somewhat sparse.

Overall, the effect is a good one for the user, providing more results on more obscure searches. This is a great opportunity for businesses in these three newly launched countries to get posted by generating KML files, in addition to using the Google Local Business Center (LBC).

Example: "museums, cape town, south africa"

For some common, very local queries, the user contributed KML results dominate.
Example: "chicken rice, Singapore"

Google Maps in Singapore, South Africa, and Ireland

Google Maps has launched in three new countries: Singapore, South Africa, and Ireland. In addition, the Google Local Business Center (LBC) is also available in those countries to allow local business owners to register in these countries.

Note that the accuracy in these countries is somewhat less than in other Google Maps areas as indicated by the floating circle instead of a red stick pin. Still, very impressive

Example: "museums, Dublin"...ah, nice results. James Joyce Center right at the top

Example: "restaurants, Singapore"

Example: "hotels, Johannesburg"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Google's Street, it's personal.

Google Maps just announced the addition of street-level panoramic photos in five cities -- NYC, LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Denver. It's called "Street View" and it allows you to virtually stand on the street, look around, and even walk down the street if you like.

The NY Times reports:
Google said that the images had been captured by vehicles equipped with special cameras. The company took some of the photographs itself and purchased others from Immersive Media, a data provider.

The question that always comes to mind with such imagery
is that of privacy. For example, in the below photo, I believe that's my wife's white car parked at the building where this lawyer works that I think she's been having an affair with... (Okay -- Just kidding! But you get the point). Be careful what you ask for.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 like a pirate this summer!!!!

A reader asked me, "how can I use Google Maps to help plan my summer sailing trip". Well, there are several ways, but the one that I think is probably most interesting, is to build your own personal map. This is done by clicking on the "My Maps" tab. From there, you can annotate a Google Maps. These maps can be public or private.

Here's my feeble attempt to illustrate a brief cruise from Greenwich, CT to Martha's Vineyard. (I'm sure you can be more creative). (will show more about My Maps later. It's a great new feature.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

...One Search to bind them all...

Google integrates their various search engines into one. Is history?

Well, not quite. But there are some great new ways to search for maps and businesses directly from, First, note that the man
y sub-search areas that used to be on Google are gone, i.e "images", "news", "video" and "maps". The new home page is very clean. Google calls it "Universal Search" -- and the results are a blended set.

Those speciality search areas are still available, and still somewhat more powerful than the Google home page, but now they're located in the upper left corner.

But the good news is, now you can type in your favorite local search directly from Check it out -- "steakhouses, San Antonio". And if you click on the thumbnail map, you get the regular maps page. Just the thought of a big t-bone at "Mortons" makes me hungry. Sweet!

Just one more example, "seafood in Jacksonville, FL". And there's my favorite, Clark's Fish Camp. "Alligator fritters anyone?"