New, More Social Google Maps

New-google-mapsGoogle is out on a changing spree.

A new Google+ that looks a lot more like Facebook pages and Pinterest mashed together responsively (that was the commentary last night), and more dynamic and social data rich maps.

In the last couple of weeks, the Interwebs were filled with news, commentary, and reviews of Google Glass. Although little was said at the Developer Conference#.

Google Now app updates, too. How about those Google driverless cars#?

All this on the heels of changes to Gmail UI, and the announcement that due to declining use it will be retiring GReader in July#.

And I'm sure I'm missing changes because I blinked once or twice.

For a high level walk-through of what the New Google Maps looks like, I defer to Greg Sterling at Search Engine. He calls it more dynamic and social in his review.

I got the adaptive nature of the the product from Shlashgear: dynamically learning maps that tailor themselves to your needs the more you use them. This is the most interesting feature and functionality in the upgrade.

Showing different transport options on the same map simultaneously is a bonus. I often look for options, especially when in NYC. The driving route and public transportation options, such as trains or subways display in the results. I do like the on foot options when it's a nice day.

Om Malik provides a quick review, inclusive of historical perspective:

Google now uses vector maps and is using data as a stream, processing it
on the graphical processing unit (GPU) of the new fangled computers and
creating a brand new map, which is personalized not just based on a
Google account

Malik also raises the data/privacy question. My take is data leverage and reveal should be situational, more around what I'm trying to do (e.g., search), than who I am (e.g., identity).

More than about tools

I'm envisioning these developments as digital products, technology applied to what we do and how we go about doing it.

Indeed, where we are is the bridge between what we're doing both on phones and tablets and in the real world. It's early days, and it will be interesting to design and receive better experiences as a result of this blending of online/offline.

What's your take?



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