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It’s “Your” World, Google

March 25, 2008

Google has embraced a more open approach to business listings by allowing anyone with a Google account to add/edit listings in New Zealand, as well as Australia and the USA. “It’s Your World”, Google says in their announcement.

It’s a slick intuitive interface and very nicely done. They differentiate between listings provided by a business owner, which you can’t edit, and those provided by users or directory partners such as Finda.

I tested it with the listing for Subway in Palmerston North, moving the map marker to the corner where Subway actually is, adding a website and a Fast Food Restaurant category. Subway Palmerston North on Google Maps

Afterwards, Google shows the change in location with ‘original’ and ‘edited’ linked versions and attributes that change to my Google account first name – although there is no more information than that so the accountability is only visible to Google staff. Interestingly to me, both versions have the website displayed, even though it wasn’t there previously. The categories are only visible if you are logged into your Google account.

Google certainly has the public mindshare and will likely become the dominant player in this space, overtaking Yellow Pages and other minor players like Finda eventually.  YP still has a significant lifespan given their massive hardcopy distribution and the old-school habits of much of the public. How long before hard-copy directories are a complete anachronism? It won’t be too soon for me.

Google says “it’s your world” but for now I think it’s actually “your”world, Google.

Zenbu is still doing its thing. There will always be a desire for the content provided by Zenbu and Google Maps especially under the Open License terms provided by Zenbu. There are massive opportunities for development around this data, especially in the mobile space and especially while we face other major constraints such as mobile data costs.

We’re in an extremely busy space where competition is high, but that just makes it that much more interesting.


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