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"