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.