L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

06 June 2006 Blog Home : June 2006 : Permalink

Pin in the Map

The register reports on and links to a really simple idea of the sort that makes you go "Duh".

Using google maps these guys have come up with a simple way to send an annotated link to anywhere in the world that google maps. There are other solutions to this - I have done similar things using maporama - but the UI of Pin in the Map is far far simpler and it is far simpler to create multiple links to email. There are however a couple of suggestions that I have for improvement:
  1. the ability to start at a google maps permalink 
  2. the ability to enter a placename (+ country) to start
  3. (related to 2.) the ability to enter a UK post code as a start
  4. the ability to create multiple pins on the same map
The first three would probably all be solvable from the first one in that once you have that you can do the other two by cunning hackery of the permalink created by google when it has found the place. The fourth may possibly be harder.

This is, BTW, why despite some of my recent scepticism about Google (at my work blog), scepticism echoed in different ways all over the place recently, I'm mostly positive about Google's potential for success. The key is that google maps has a publically available API, as do many other google services, and that is not the case with many of Google's competitors. By providing an easy to use API google entices third party developer to use google as its platform and this helps build loyalty as well as helping to sell ads via google. Given that Google's business is essentially the sale of advertising, anything it can do to entice more people to use google as a platform the better. This is, effectively, the classic "open propriatary" technology platform that Geoff Moore recommends in his "Gorilla Game"  book and it is Google's ability to take open non-proprietary technologies such as AJAX and leverage them to produce proprietary platforms that makes me unwilling to write Google off despite all its weak points.

(Post x-posted at the work blog)

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