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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The folks from Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft’s PR firm, let us know of updates to what I guess is now called Live Search Maps. I guess I missed a name change along the way… What’s new?

· Firefox support: Previously, 3D functionality for Live Search Maps was only available on IE. With this update, customers in the US who use Firefox as their web browsers will be able to enjoy the immersive 3D mapping experience available with Live Search Maps. 

· Updated 3D cities: With this update, 16 additional cities will be available with 3D buildings including San Diego, CA and Portland, OR. The 3D functionality is also now available in five cities in the UK including Plymouth, Cardiff, Bristol, Gloucester, and Wolverhampton.

· Ratings and Reviews for Business listings:  Live Search Maps customers now have the ability to view ratings and reviews of hundreds of thousands of businesses in the US, provided by third party sites and Live Search Maps customers. 

· RSS collections feeds: Customers are now able to subscribe to a Live Search Maps collection and their RSS reader will automatically receive any updates that are made to that collection. 

· Traffic conditions: Our real time traffic feature is automatically presented as an overlay when directions are displayed, providing our customers with relevant information they can act on without the need for an extra step.

· Instant Answers Maps feature: For Live Search queries with “local intent”, customers will now be presented with the picture of a map, embedded into their traditional search results. For example, if you type in Las Vegas in the Live Search bar, a map of Las Vegas will be included at the top of your Live Search results. 

I went to try these out and none seemed to be implemented yet or I was not looking in the right places. In light of the correction today regarding Google putting (c)2007 on its Google Maps/Earth, I want to note all of Live Search Maps says (c) 2006.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/03 at 01:14 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

An interview with Russel Buckley brings up the topic of location-based advertising. He’s the European managing director of AdMob, a mobile ad marketplace that has just received $15m in VC funding. Buckley says LB-advertising is not all that it’s made out to be:

I’d say that while location can be an important factor, it’s not the Holy Grail it’s often made out to be. That’s based on being involved in a company that did precisely this back in 2000. We ran over 1500 campaigns to over 85,000 consumers, so we learned a lot about this aspect.

However, we also leaned about a number of problems with the business model, especially the issues of building a scalable inventory. The complexities of matching ads with all UK locations, for instance, are very challenging, especially in the early days.

However, while this form of marketing is attractive to many retailers, in fact the majority of advertising doesn’t need a location element to it to be highly effective. So while I think we’re going to see some fascinating developments in this area, there’s a lot more to mobile advertising than the location aspect.

- e- consultancy

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/03 at 08:44 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

RISMedia offers an unsigned article (I’ve contacted RISMedia on the source) detailing the contents of the summary judgement documents delivered by both sides in this patent infringement case. The orginal documents were due March 7 and responses from the opposing sides were due March 28. The one thing we need to know from a legal standpoint is that these docs are to rely on “undisputed facts” so these are not supposed to be argumentative, per se.

On to the nitty gritty:

The defense focusses on two things. First, it argues, Sarkisian did not infringe because she individually did not do all of the steps in the patent. She does admit to doing some of them (gathering real estate information). Second, it argues, there is prior art (that is, technology existed before the patent that does what it claims). The software that show prior art? MIDAS 1.2, a precoursor to MapInfo’s MapInfo Pro. While it seems the manual does include all the steps in the patent, there are questions as to the date of the software.

The platiff argues that Sarkisian infringed on the patent both in combination with others (other agents/MLS) and alone. The plaintiff, if I follow this correctly, argues that since Sarkisian had a relationship with these other players, they act as one in infringement. Now, the individual infringement get weird. Apparently, Sarkisian did admit to using the nav system in her Mercedes (she’s a SUCCESFUL agent!) and that, says the plaintiff is infringement. Yes, bells should go off for all of those reading this! If true, many, many of us, even those of us who are not involved in real estate, could be infringing everyday! That’s in part why this whole thing so absurd and scary at the same time.

According to the RISMedia article these documents make up a key part of the core facts of the case which may eventually be shared with a jury. Recall too that the latest turn in the case involved broadening it from being about Diane Sarkisian to being a class action against a group of agents. That could be expanded further, according to the defense.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/03 at 08:16 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I’ve been out of geocaching for a while, but apparently the folks behind its popularization, GroundSpeak have launched a new game: waymarking. The idea is to find things in the real world that fit into categories, GPS them, take their picture and post them. You can find, for example, chain restaurants (dull) or historic places (more interesting) or you can get someone to snap a picture of your name turned into lat/lon. Some folks are into it, and for sure, it’s very Web 2.0, but to me at least, the thrill of finding a “hidden treasure” seems more appealing.

- The News Tribune (Tacoma)

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/03 at 07:46 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Google has resolved the concerns about pre-Katrina imagery appearing on its mapping properties by posting higher resolution post-Katrina on Sunday night. (Full story on the Official Google Blog)

We pondered this on our podcast and Joe Francica pointed out that perhaps the real issue here is better metadata or what the media might call “more transparency.” Now, I’m sure many a GIS tech geeks would think the same thing. I was suprised however to find that non-GIS tech geeks, including Stevie Smith at Monsters and Critics noticed the value of metadata even if they didn’t call it by name:

It’s also worth noting that although Google’s updated 2006 satellite photography does clearly show elements of the damage wrought by Katrina, there are still significant discrepancies in its chronological accuracy. For example, while New Orleans appears much closer to how it is in 2007, certain small Mississippi Gulf Coast towns that were absolutely devastated by Katrina (literally wiped off the world map) remain eerily untouched.

If the outcome of this “event” is more metadata (for imagery and vector data) on Google mapping properties (which would push other players, I’m sure) that would be a huge positive step forward.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/03 at 06:51 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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