The week started with a statement “I am going to have a Google Free week”. What did this mean, well put it simply I was going to hold back from using any of Google’s services for 7 days, explore the other side of the Interweb and see where it got me. All was fine (part from the odd hidden link from friends) till I came across this in my twitter feed: http://google-au.blogspot.com/2010/03/turn-left-at-chemist-and-ill-meet-you.html.
Yes, Google has released logo’s into the mapping interface so of course I had to check it out, forgetting about my Google free week.
With the advent of loading an icon onto a map, paying for this privilege, businesses can now stand out from the crowd, heighten themselves from the text that can sometime plague and swamp a map. Still questions are now being asked into how Google will ‘rank’ order of preference for an icon to be seen on the map and what type of business can have their logo’s incorporated into a map. Big business that would normally attract a high number of search hits seems to be where the drive is taking the Google Empire and of course along comes their wallets.
Still it is a step in the right direction and does open the door for the niche player who wants a slice of the apple pie. I can’t help thinking though, with the drive that Google has to use location data as core to its advertising empire will we all fall in line and accept Google’s data as the norm? Weigh it up:
- It is already there
- They are capturing (or licensing) new data.
- The links into the API are simple
- Mass market appeal
- Google Geocoding Engine is easy to use and links your data into their layers. (http://code.google.com/apis/maps/documentation/geocoding/)
And the list goes on……although it is that final point listed above that I believe will be key. Imagine this, I have data and I want to overlay this onto a map, Google has this wonderful tool and so I use it. Times this by all the people who collect data and there it is. All data, when captured aligned to Google’s location framework.
Have they won the positioning fight? Will all data simply use Google as a core alignment? Time will tell I guess.
Btw. In starting to use other providers in my attempt at a Google free week I was impressed with Bing and in the effort to draw in data from other sources Government still has the best quality data going!