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?"

Monday, May 14, 2007

Add or Edit your business

Google maps has moved the "Add or Edit your business" link to the top of the details page. This is good news, because the link used to be at the bottom of the details page, and often below the it was rarely used.

Now that it is more prevalent, hopefully more business owners will Add or Edit their businesses using the Google Local Business Center. This is by far the most reliable and powerful method of correcting an error in your business listing. Now it's a bit easier to get there.

Google LatLong: A new world unfolding

Google LatLong: A new world unfolding

Google now has an official blog just for Geo information, Google Lat-Long. Check it out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Multiple listings may not be duplicates

One complaint often raised is that Google Maps shows lots of duplicates. Maybe yes, maybe no. Here's one I ran into today. Mid-America Industrial Park, Pryor, OK. At first, it appears there are four conflicting/duplicate listings.

But a closer look shows that, in fact, these are separate listings, just with similar names.

Location A is the office mail/delivery location, as given on their web site.
Location B is the "Main Office". Different phone #.
Location C is the actual location of the industrial park. Same phone # as A
Location D is the "Water Plant Division". Different phone #.

This is something you see frequently in Google Maps. It's clear that they would rather err on the side of showing more information, even if it often seems that the listings should be grouped together.

So, the lesson learned. Pay close attention to the listing title and phone number. It pays.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Expanded Maps/Local on

Using the basic web site brings Maps and Local listings

Usually I use the site for
searching the map and for local business search. But you don't have to. Google has upgraded the ability of the basic website to find map locations and local business listings.

So here's how it works. You enter a query such as "60611" and Google interprets this (correctly) as a location, and gives you a map.

If you enter a business name, Goo
gle will interpret that as a "find businesses" search and give you a thumbnail map with three results. For example, "museums Indianapolis" gives you three choices. You can click on the map to get the full map display.

So next time you want to search for a map or a local business, give it a try on the basic If that doesn't work, then go to where you have some refinement choices, especially in the "find businesses" section.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Search Google Maps by Lat/Long

Did you know that you can search Google Maps by using Latitude and Longitude?
Well, you can. Positive latitude numbers are North. Negative are South. Positive longitude numbers are East. Negative are West. Enter values in decimal equivalent of deg, min, sec. Cool beans!

So Sydney, Australia is -33.866603,151.207108

And San Francisco becomes

Sunday, April 29, 2007

How do I get my business listed on Google Maps?

My business isn't listed on Google Maps. Why not? or... The information listed on my business on Google Maps is wrong. How do I fix it?

This must be one of the most common questions asked by business owners. Here are some answers!

1. Take charge of your listing. Take ownership of what Google Maps displays. Go to the Google Local Business Center and register your business. Verification is required. Use the telephone verification me
thod, if it is available. (Google will show you a PIN on the PC, then they'll call your number, and you enter the PIN. Takes 20 sec.). This is by far the easiest method. It's free, and you do not have to buy Google Ads. AND it will overwrite whatever Google Maps is currently showing. If it's a new business, you'll see the changes right away. If it's an update to an existing business, that can take 3-4 weeks.

2. On the "more info" page, at the bottom is a link that says "Business Owners: Add/Edit Your Business" and a link to the LBC above. Most people don't know this link is here, probably because it is often below the fold on the page. Google really should make this link more prominent.
3. Finally, if you still can't get your business corrected. Leave me a comment, and I'll try to help. I bet you won't find that statement on any other Google Maps blog!

Here's what does not work...sending an email flame to Google, writing a nasty letter to Larry Page, or having your attorney threaten to sue Google. Google Maps gets its data from public sources such as web pages and other public data sources, i.e. 411 service. If you really have a problem with your 411 listing, it's not Google's fault. Call the 411 service.

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Neighborhood Search Capability

Google Maps has recently rolled-out the ability to search across neighborhoods and states.

You can now do searches such as bagels upper west side ny and ikea california on Google Maps. This is very cool because it allows you
to do city-level searches where the city is uniquely named, regardless of size, such as bakery round rock or creameries brenham.

Check it out!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Google Maps has rolled out a lot of new maps. Check these out.



Slovenia and Croatia:


It also appears there are new street level data for Estonia and Lithuania.

Here's Vilnius

Here's Tallinn:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Improved home pages for business listings

The latest release of has greatly improved home web pages for local business listings. Previously, there were a lot of errors. For example, my son attends the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Previously, the website listed for UCF was the University of Toronto!

Now it's correct:,-81.377106&spn=0.284412,0.63858&om=1&iwloc=A

Google appears to have significantly improved their ability to find the right web site for a local business listing. I have yet to find one that is blatantly wrong.

One small step for better business listings.