At the SMX Advanced, Google not only revealed the success story of Google Maps by claiming a figure of a billion users of the product, it also introduced Offline Maps for Mobile at the same time. Google’s Brian McClendon, introduced this at the “next dimension” event and also threw light on the huge growth of Maps as a product. This session at the SMX Advanced drew a lot of attention as it was expected that Google may speak of the potential launch of an Apple mapping product, but the name ‘Apple’ never came up in Google’s discourse.
Coming Soon – Offline Mapping
Team Google at SMX Advanced gave a demo of an upcoming feature- Offline mapping. Now, Google Maps will be coming soon to Google Maps for Android. This means that users can access the Google Maps for Android without needing a network or a connection on their phones. The new features allows for map downloads and other stuff without any data connection.
Mapping the Success of Google Maps
McClendon said that Google Maps speeded up and smoothed the online mapping process with its technical innovations. Google took the platform to acknowledge its success in allowing 75% of the world to see their homes in high-res imagery on Google Maps. While McClendon spoke of Google’s huge achievements in Street View, MapMaker etc. it was evident that he was subtly hinting that the competition can’t easily duplicate what Google has accomplished. Some features highlighted by McClendon are:
- Comprehensiveness of Google Maps and Earth
- 187 countries covered
- 29 countries have voice-guided directions
McClendon also revealed that Google is working on maps in different languages too. He said that the superior user-experience on Google Maps is due to a number of factors including a single search box. The stage was taken by Rebecca Moore, head of Google Earth Outreach and she spoke on the socially beneficial uses of Google Maps. She spoke of disasters like Hurricane Katrina where Google Earth Outreach was for public benefits. She said “Maps are an expression of culture” as people want to get their lives mapped.
The social good uses of Google Maps as outlined by Rebecca were: Halo Trust is using Google Earth to track landmine clearance operations globally. She said that Google Maps can “unite peoples and nations toward a common good.”
3D imagery coming to Android Soon
Google’s product manager Peter Birch spoke about 3D mapping and its future. Google Earth went 3D in 2005 and in 2006 got 3D photorealism. He said that Google aims to achieve “modeling the world in 3D.” On the lines of Microsoft, Google uses planes to photograph metropolitan areas for automated rendering. He also “This is just a sneak peak of technology that we have available.” This 3D imagery is coming to Android devices within the next few weeks. What do you think of these developments that have been planned by Google? Do share your views.Google Announces Offline Maps for Mobile at the SMX Advanced!,