Dare has one good point and one bad point about the new google mymaps feature that we’ve had for a while.
As usual the reactions from the blog pundits are equal parts surprising and unsurprising to me. The unsurprising bit is that I didn’t find anyone who compared this to the collections feature of
MSN Virtual Earth Windows Live Local Live Search MapsLive Maps which can be viewed at http://collections.live.com. I’m sure when the “Web 2.0” pundits eventually discover we have this feature it will be claimed we copied it from Google.
When are people going to stop giving google credit for everything? How long will the web honeymoon last? This is one area that we were not copycats… they were. Lets give credit where credit is due here.
On the other hand what I did find surprising were blog posts like Google Launches MyMaps – Platial Gets Screwed and My Maps at Google: Is Google Doing a Microsoft? from Pete Cashmore and Paul Kedrosky which complained that Google was killing “social mapping” startups like Platial and Frappr with this move. Ignoring that “social mapping” seems like a silly product category in the first place, I wonder what exactly is wrong with this move. Some startups point out consumer demand for certain features from online mapping sites (i.e. missing features) and the consumer mapping sites add the features.
I have one use for social mapping services, but it’s going to require a feature that neither google or live maps support today. I want to make it easy for people to share road bike routes with one another. To do this you have to be able to define custom routes between markers and generate good printouts with the directions, pictures, and comments about the routes. It’s not good enough to just map the best path between two stops since you really want more flexibility to say… not take the highway when you are on a road bike. Then people can collaborate to build some really cool bike routes based on revisions to other routes.