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Google's My Maps


Google Maps personal version is going to be a huge change in the mapping market. It lets people annotate their own maps in rich ways, using the Web the way it was possible to use the application Google Earth before.

It’s not new in concept. A startup called Platial has been doing this already, and has created a terrific community of users (including my class at Berkeley this spring). What Platial does that Google doesn’t is crucial, however.

First is a “mapkit” that lets you embed a map inside your own site, the way YouTube does with videos and Flickr does with photos. How long will it take Google to do this?

Second is collaboration. Platial is all about collaborating. Again, expect Google to catch up.

Google is already ahead of Platial in several ways, meanwhile, including the ability to draw shapes on the maps. This is more like the geographic information system (GIS) look than Platial and Yahoo, among others, have managed to achieve.

Mapping is about to go super-mainstream, and we are just at the edges of understanding how powerful it will be. The arms race to offer us the best product is under way.

7 Comments on “Google's My Maps”

  1. #1 Simplicity Rules » Google goes mashup
    on Apr 5th, 2007 at 8:40 am

    […] Gilmour says Platial is better for a couple reasons. Those sorts of differentiation will become especially important for businesses built off of […]

  2. #2 diann eisnor
    on Apr 5th, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Dan, thanks so much for this. We see this as disruptive to the mashup scene which was frankly getting a little stale. This is inevitable and I don’t see them going into territory which is not fundamental to their existing path (which is different from ours.) In fact here’s what John Hanke said to me “tools don’t equal community 🙂 so i don’t really see this displacing platial’s role in helping to create a useful web of geo information for all” and I agree. In fact this will elevate our space and make move mapping applications further (err force us to) move further faster.

  3. #3 netZoo » Archives » Google Maps Over-Easy
    on Apr 5th, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    […] can incorporate their own data, mark up their own maps, photos, etc and fly around it in Earth. Dan Gillmor says the maps are about to go “super-mainstream,” to which I’ll emphatically add […]

  4. #4 Keith Kamisugi
    on Apr 5th, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    I’m looking forward to trying this out. Did you hear about Google Maps’ mistake on replacing Katrina-ravaged area maps with images pre-disaster?

  5. #5 No excuse for geting lost « cutter’s blog
    on Apr 5th, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    […] Gilmor thinks this is a big step. Mapping is about to go super-mainstream, and we are just at the edges of […]

  6. #6 david silver
    on Apr 6th, 2007 at 11:47 am

    dan, can you share a link to your spring class and its use of maps?

  7. #7 jenny
    on Apr 13th, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    You can share and search your Google My Maps at

    There’s also a tool there that will let you easily embed your map in your blog.