Google Maps Is On A Quest For PerfectionBy: Zach Walton - June 6, 2012
Google is on a quest. They have traversed the Amazon, gotten lost in Jerusalem and taken us on tours through the world’s most famous museums. Google Maps should have hit level 100 year ago, but they just keep on grinding to become the world’s most perfect map service.
It’s that drive to perfection which led Google to create the next generation of Google Maps that was unveiled today. Check out our coverage to see what Google Maps has in store next. In short, Google has created a new software called MapsGL that provides additional detail to the Google Maps that you know and love. The big standout feature, however, is that 3D maps are now on iOS and Android mobile devices.
All of these new features were driven by a single goal: the perfect map. Like I said, Google is on a quest. It’s not an easy quest that can be completed in a mere few hours like the worst RPGs of yesteryear. It’s a multi-layered quest that requires hours of planning and grinding to find the perfect solution to the problems that you are faced with.
In this quest, Google has found the three core components that will drive them to perfection – comprehensiveness, accuracy and usability. These three core principles are akin to the three magic crystals needed to save the world, or in this case, create the perfect map.
Comprehensiveness speaks to Google’s need to catalog every part of the planet. They have already been doing this through street view on vehicles, but as they say, “wheels can only get you so far.” In that spirit, Google has taken on the spirit of the quest Street View Trekker. This allows the Street View team to slap a 360 degree camera on the back of a brave soul as he explores parts of the world previously inaccessible like the Grand Canyon.
Any good quest needs planning and those plans require accuracy. Unlike a fictional quest where the objects in the world remain constant, the real world is constantly changing. Google Maps must account for this with the most up to date information to keep their maps ahead of the curve. That’s why Google Maps offers Map Maker which allows users to make edits to current maps using their local knowledge to improve accuracy. Map Maker will be launching in 12 additional countries over the next few weeks with Egypt and South Africa receiving the tool today.
The final component to Google’s righteous quest is usability. It makes perfect sense as the best adventures always give the user a helping hand when they need it most. Google Maps achieves maximum usability by becoming smoother and easier to navigate. It is also adding in the ability to use Google Maps offline so you can access maps in the dark places of this world where the forever shining light of the Internet can’t reach you.
With these three simple concepts guiding Google Maps, it looks they are well on their way to achieving perfection. While real world perfection is not as simple as a role-playing game, the fundamentals for any successful quest remains the same. I might even consider letting Google Maps slide by as perfect if they bring back that awesome 8-bit Google Maps/Dragon Quest hybrid.