I sat down after the briefing for Universal Search to lunch at Google. At my table was John Hanke, the GM of Maps/Local. He confirmed that the “text view” I stumbled upon the other day was new and launched in preparation for the Universal Search announcement today. In the course of our conversation I also made several suggestions about product enhancements (for Maps and mobile) that made John smile, suggesting they were on the roadmap.
Among the general things we discussed were My Maps, mobile apps, Google Earth and the 3-D Warehouse and Google Earth on TV (eventually). Hanke cited progress with their community based 3-D build out. He also said that My Maps was really taking off and had captured people’s imaginations. He said that it had made Google Maps a “global product” and that Google was getting submissions from all over the world.
Beyond the fact that the tool is creative and fun, he said it was being used for generally self-interested purposes (people making maps for themselves and their friends) and that self-interest was aligned with Google’s interest in capturing user-generated content and recommendations.
There’s a much longer post to be written on that latter point . . . at some point.