More from the mighty brain of Jon Udell, this time on why Google Maps really is revolutionary :
When I finished making the interactive version of my neighborhood tour, along with a screencast, it was clear that Google Maps is every bit as revolutionary as my first instincts told me. Not because Google invented a new geospatial engine or compiled better data. They didn’t. But simply — and yet profoundly — because Google Maps is a framework we can all use to annotate the physical world.
In the very near future, billions of people will be roaming the planet with GPS devices. Clouds of network connectivity are forming over our major cities and will inevitably coalesce. The geoaware Web isn’t a product we buy; it’s an environment we colonize. There will always be markets for proprietary data. But the real action will be in empowering people to create their own services, with their own data, for their friends, family, and business associates. Google Maps isn’t just a service, it’s a service factory.
Radical openness is the key. It’s been only two weeks since it launched and already the colonization has begun. Thanks to open XML data formats and open Web programming interfaces, people have figured out how to animate routes, create custom routes with their own GPS data, and display GPS data in real time.
Microsoft could have enabled these same kinds of things years ago. Its TerraServer has been up and running since 1998. But despite Steve Ballmer’s infamous monkey-dance chant, developers haven’t flocked to TerraServer. What’s Google’s secret? Web DNA and no Windows tax. [Full story at InfoWorld.com]
Web DNA. Windows tax. Not just a service, a service factory. These are all phrases I’m going to be using again and again and again, I feel.
(Via Jon’s Radio.)