Google Earth and VW
[Update 1/10] According to another Forbes report, VW will not comment on the announcement. What’s up with that?
[Update 1/9] Forbes reports: “Google software will allow single images from satellites and aerial photographs to be incorporated into a detailed visual navigation system able to zoom in on buildings.” So, that’s not so Google Earthlike - is it?
Deep in the coverage of CES last week is a tidbit about Google working with VW on a navigation system built on Google Earth. From Electronic Business:
[Larry Page began] his presentation showing a powerful Google Earth satellite application that could eventually work in vehicles. He said Google is working with VW on such an application where the operator would punch in an address on the car console. The system would direct the operator to his or her destination in a 3D application similar to what occurs in Google Earth on a PC.
Sure, why not? Some are concerned about the amount of data one would need to carry around or transfer via wireless or other methodology. Others question whether Google Earth data are the right stuff for this type of app. (See comments by James Fee and Frank Taylor.)
I’m not worried. This is all about teaching the consumer market (and frankly the business market) more about services. That’s what CES was about - not so much the hardware on which to play the services - but rather about the services themselves. That’s where the money is to be made.
That said, I do find it interesting that MapQuest just got into the “in car” nav space this fall with some hardware and Google is jumping in too. I suspect in time you’ll be able to buy the GPS hardware you want and then pick the service you want, too. All that’s needed: standards. Are they out there yet?
One other point, will these be free, with location-based ads? Or, will they be, like phone-based LBS services a few dollars a month?