Marrying Maps to Data for a New Web Service
[B]oth Google and Yahoo published documentation making it significantly easier for programmers to link virtually any kind of Internet data to Web-based maps and, in Google’s case, satellite imagery.
Since the Google and Yahoo tools were released, their uses have been demonstrated in dozens of ways by hobbyists and companies, including an annotated map guide to the California wineries and restaurants that appeared in the movie “Sideways” and instant maps showing the locations of the recent bombing attacks in London.
[...] So far the uses have been noncommercial. But Yahoo, Google and Microsoft are creating the services with the expectation that they will become a focal point in one of the next significant growth areas in Internet advertising: contextual advertisements tied to specific locations. Such ads would be embedded in maps generated by a search query or run alongside them.
While the companies have not yet disclosed how they intend to profit, one likely model is that the programming tools would be licensed on the basis of a revenue split from the advertising generated by use of the maps.
“There are billions of dollars of commerce down the road,” said Chris Churchill, chief executive of Fathom Online, a search-engine advertising firm based in New York. “It will all be an advertising-supported model, which is an epiphany for many people.”
Viewed broadly, the new services represent a shift to what is being described as “Web 2.0,” a new generation of Internet software technologies that will seamlessly plug together, much like Lego blocks, in new and unexpected ways.
[...] “To be honest, there isn’t a lot new here,” said Perry Evans, who founded MapQuest and is now chief executive of Local Matters, a local-search company based in Denver. “What’s different is the accessibility and the fact that the number of participants in local target advertising is growing.”
Google’s decision to encourage experimentation or “hacks” has led to widespread interest both from programmers and from the traditional G.I.S. industry.
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