Map Wars heat up

    April 11, 2005

There’s a community being built around Google’s Maps. Very cool I’m jealous.

Now, I’ve seen Microsoft’s future mapping strategy and I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Don’t count us out yet. After all, we have TerraServer and a few other things that work well on maps.

Google Maps Community

Disclaimer: the ideas in this post are mine and mine alone and should not be taken as any statement of Microsoft’s future product or service directions. It’s just me trying to get some conversation going about mapping and where the industry might go in the future.

For instance, here’s the front of the building I work at on TerraServer. Here’s approximately the same thing on Google Maps.

Now, what’s possibly next from Google (or MSN or Yahoo)? Use your imagination. What would you like to put on top of that map? Er, image? I got a few things. How about a sushi icon? Huh? Click the sushi icon and it takes you to all the nearest sushi restaurants. How about a camera icon? Click on that and it takes you to all the nearby photo opportunities. How about a Hospital icon? Click that and it takes you to the closest hospital. How about a blog icon?

How about a Flickr icon? A McDonalds icon? A Starbucks icon? A Sears icon? A Scobleizer icon?

Now do you see how Google (and MSN and Yahoo) will make money with maps?

Oh, and you should go over and talk to Jim Gray about mapping. He’s the guy who lead the Terraserver effort back in the late 90s. And last year he helped out with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (very cool map of the universe, at least the part that our telescopes can see).

Imagine a virtual universe (the Sloan thing already brings it to us). Oh, by the way, am I the only one who plays around with Google Maps and imagines the Flight Simulator possibilities? Hmmm. I wonder what Flight Simulator 2016 will look like.

Oh, and remember to check into our WWMX research project, which shows some of our early thinking on photo integration, presence data, and maps.

I wonder what Yahoo is up to? Flickr, Flickr, Flickr, where art thou tags going?

Ahh, here they are, on MetaFilter: Memory Maps.

Robert Scoble is the founder of the Scobleizer blog. He works as’s Vice President of Media Development.

Go to Scobleizer