In Google’s continuing efforts to get more social, Google’s Map Maker tool made its introduction into the United States yesterday. Map Maker allows users to add and update maps with their own insights. This can mean a number of different things, such as moving place markers to more appropriate spots, pointing out certain parks and playgrounds, building a more detailed map of a college campus, or even marking the bike lanes in your town. Essentially, it makes Google Maps into a Wiki.
Google’s Lat Long blog notes that since the release of Map Maker, the percentage of the world’s population that has detailed online maps of their neighborhoods has jumped from 15% to 30%. Users have mapped road networks, bike lanes, schools, and even entire cities that were not documented online before. This information is added to Google Maps and Google Earth, making it the global information hub we know today.
Now that this feature is open to the U.S., Google is asking us to share with the world all the knowledge that only a townie can dispense. You can write up a description of that second-hand boutique you love, or that local breakfast place that makes the best pancakes (I’m thinking banana-walnut).
Google will be exercising a technique similar to that of Wikipedia by reviewing each edit to ensure quality and accuracy of the new information.
No doubt +1 was a launching pad for Google’s focus on a very socially networked future.