Google Maps Evolution.
Who doesn’t know Google Maps? We use it to find eateries, bars, theatres, sports club, your friends place, your new office and we even try to find whats in Area 51. Apart from this netizens use Google Maps to find reviews of that particular club which your friend suggested, pictures of that particular place which you are going to visit, to take a look at the traffic before you leave office, to check the how far your cousins place is, to review a place, to add photos, to share location, to use the location in your website and the list is endless. Its like Google Maps has become a part of our life – the couch friend, the wise old man, the informative nerdy friend. But how many of us know the evolution of Google Maps? Lets dig in deep.
Google Maps was first programmed in C++ by two Danish brothers Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen who worked for Where 2 Technologies. The initial plan was to let the users download the application. But the plan was scrapped and the company suggested to build it as a Web-based app to Google. Google acquired this company in the year 2004. And in the following year, Google announced the application in their blog. Google Maps was born to take over the world.
The first version was a very basic version. It included drag feature, double-click to center the map, a basic search bar to find a place, go to a place and show the directions. It was first release in Japan which included road maps and local services. In Jan 2006, Google Maps featured roads maps for other places like USA, Canada, UK, Puerto Rico and certain cities in Ireland.
2007 was a key year for Google Maps as Google Traffic was officially launched which included real-time traffic monitoring of 30 cities in United States of America. In the same year, Google rolled out many other features such as universal search results, neighbourhood search capabilities, driving directions support, Street View to give a 360-dergree ground view of the streets in US, ability to add reviews for businesses and many others.
In early 2008, Google allowed end users to experience more features. Users could edit their Business Listings, add new places, unlimited category options, Terrain view, walking directions and Saved locations. And Maps was also ported to Flash and ActionScript3 for a richer user experience. And in mid 2018, the user interface was completely redesigned.
From 2009 to 2014, more and more things were added to Google Maps. All major web browsers were compatibile now and Maps were launched in United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Street View in Hongkong, Macau, Hungary and a map of North Korea. Google had to pay a lot of money to a French mapping company for offering the service free of cost. A new interface was designed and launched in the year 2014.
In 2015 Google had to publicly apologize for the vandalism in a map near Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The image portrayed Apple logo in a disgusting manner and Google immediately disabled user modifcations of the maps worldwide. And in the year 2016, Google rolled out new satellite images from Landsat 8 which had over 700 trillion pixels of new data.
And this year, 2017, Google Maps for Android devices was updated with a new User Interface which included improvement of travel times, traffic data, local places and recommendations feature. And on November 15, 2017, Google announced a significant update to the Google Maps formatting. Locations and points of interests will change based on the perceived user intent. The example they used was of a driver seeing gas stations on their map where a transit user using Google Maps in the same location would get train stations.
So, this was the complete brief picture of the Google Maps evolution. At no certain future, we can see a replacement of it and its going to dominate for a long, long time.
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