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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Since it’s easy to take online driving directions for granted, I wanted to briefly make you aware of a new feature we released today on Google Maps. Now when users get directions through Google Maps they can customize their route by dragging and dropping the route line over any preferred highways or roads. The directions instantaneously update, showing new time and mileage estimates as a user drags the route.

For more information, please see today’s post on the Google Lat Long blog or check it out online.

- Google

Yes, this is very cool. I know I’ll use it to avoid those bumpy roads (documented in my head but not on Google) when I’m on my bike!

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/28 at 03:29 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
by Adena Schutzberg on 06/28 at 06:04 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Jobs says that what Apple has done with maps on the iPhone will "blow away any Google Maps client." I’m sorry, the launch of the iPhone tomorrow rings hollow on its location technology to me. So, the iPhone is an "always-on" Wi-Fi enabled Web browser that can view Google Maps. You can search for POIs and display them on the iPhone. There is nothing impressive about that feature that another cell phone with Wi-Fi access doesn’t already have.

The only thing I can see that is somewhat innovative is the integration the iPhone has with its other features. That is, when you select a particular POI, let’s say a restaurant, and you touch the pin location on the map display, the user is able to see and then dial the phone number for that establishment. That’s cool, I’ll admit. The ability to view traffic maps is just a yawner. It’s just a feature of another website. Routing? Please don’t insult me. Where is the "live" link to my location? Show me my friends, my pets, my car and everyone and everything else in my network. Show them to me on the map as my "in-network" favs. The map features are basically static. It lacks the "wow" factor so common to Apple products and for a company that prides itself on catering to the gen X’ers, Y’s or whoever, the opportunity to establish the iPhone as the primo location-based social networking device was a huge miss. Even local search, the hottest thing going, is simply web-based look up on the iPhone. Without GPS, (or Wi-Fi triangulation) it’s simply just a web browser.

So, tomorrow the iPhone will be available in stores at 6:00 p.m. and people will be thronging to Apple’s retail outlets to pay the $500+. In my opinion, wait until Apple adds a GPS chip. Wait for the social networking feature to show the proximity of friends and family. I think they blew it this time around by leaving these features out. It could have launched as the "killer" PDA-cell phone-MP3 player as well as the most useful PND and social networking device on the market. To me, it misses by a "country mile." It will allow competitors to jump into the breach.

And for that price, I want my apple pie and eat it too.

by Joe Francica on 06/28 at 01:24 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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