Cowen Puts Google Maps Ahead Of Rivals

    September 29, 2008

In the 2005 movie "Domino," a character curses MapQuest for making him late and the words "never again" are used.  Now, as a new study crowns Google Maps a sort of leader in this field, a lot of folks seem to have taken similar oaths regarding Live Search Maps and Yahoo Maps.

MapQuest is, to be fair, still the winner in terms of market share.  Its edge is shrinking, however, and Google’s comparatively heavy focus on new features may be the reason.  Cowen and Company analysts told Stephen Shankland, "Since our initial survey in July 2007, innovation at (AOL’s) MapQuest and Yahoo Maps has stagnated."

Before the stock market fell off a cliff this afternoon, they also said, "Yahoo and MapQuest do not have the resources to keep pace and are forced to aggressively monetize a declining franchise in the maps segment."

Since the Nasdaq’s down 7.36 percent at the moment, perhaps Google will leap into the monetization game and put itself on equal footing.  But another possibility is that the shaky economy will just cause Google’s competitors to lose ground faster, leaving the search giant in control of yet another market.

For the record, Google Map Maker launched in another 17 countries late last week.