Navigating the Future: Take Me to Bob

by Brady Forrest@brady

Google has just announced a free turn-by-turn navigation app for Android 2.0 in the US (Radar post). Google Maps Navigation relies on Google’s own mapping for routing you. As with many navigation devices you can search Business Listings. However, they are also including data not traditionally available to navigators. In the promo video Google demonstrates that you can ask to be taken to « The King Tut exhibit ». GMN will determine that it’s in Golden Gate Park and route you. This is « because it is connected to the internet it is using all of the latest information on the internet. »

This is huge. To be able to request implicit destinations based off of realtime information is something that has never been available before. What new queries will be available to us because of this? Google has a lot of data. How much of it can be assigned a location? Lots. There are millions of KML files out on the internet. Here are some of the useful queries

« Take me to Bob Smith » – If Bob is your friend on Latitude then Google Maps Navigation can take you to him. If Bob moves then GMN could even re-route you. I wonder if they will enable the chase scenario.

« Drop me off in time for the #48 bus » – Google knows the public transit schedule. So not only can it drop you off at the nearest stop, it could drop you off at the stop that will ensure the shortest multi-modal trip.

« Show me homes under 500K in Capitol Hill » – Via Google Base, Google has real estate information (it has had neighborhood data for quite sometime).

« Take me to my next appointment » – If you use Google Calendar and you accurately fill out the location field then this is a snap.

« Take me to the nearest Winter Coat Sale » – Using Adsense for Google Maps, GMN can easily lead you to local sales.

« Take me to the bar my friends go to the most » – Using Social Graph API and the new, experimental Social Search to tap into Foursquare, GMN can determine where you friends go, aggregate their destinations and lead you to their favorite watering hole.

« Take me to the largest event » – Using a combination of Latitude and its new access to the Twitter Firehose (which will soon include locationRadar post), Google can determine where people are.

« Take me on a tour of the top 10 historical sites here » – Using Wikipedia Google can determine what the sites are and where you should be taken. Alternately, Google could take you on user-generated tour.

« Take me to the most picturesque place near here » – Several years ago Google bought Panoramio, a location-based photo site. Google can determine which place nearby has had the most photos of it taken.

« Take me on a tour of the site from Around the World in 80 Days«  – Google already geoparses many of the books it scans (just see this map). This routing is quite possible.

« Take me to the EPA’s protected sites » – Government data is becoming more available. This is just one possible governmental query. You could also ask to go on a tour of TARP fund recipients or Democratic donors.

Obviously not all of them will be enabled, but I bet that within a year some of them will be. What other scenarios can or should they implement?

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