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Less Than It Appears

The announcement by Google on CNN, also in Wall Street Journal and other general media outlets that it was going to enable Google Maps users to create their own mashups without programming was a real disappointment to me. I was hoping for a real leap in usability and flexibility, given the great strides the company has made in the past. However, the capability announced by Google did no more than bring it up to approximate parity with what Microsoft had with Live! Local for around a year. After playing with it for a while, I came away wanting much more. If I wanted to do a feature by feature comparison, there are areas where Google Maps is a little better, and visa versa, but I've been doing much of what Google says on Live! Local for our conferences since early last fall.

You might argue that I have a built-in bias, but that's simply not true. In the past, I've said there is value in both approaches. I prefer using Google Maps and Google Earth, but prefer programming with Microsoft Virtual Earth, where I can code my mashups from within Visual Studio.

Rather, I have come to expect better of Google. There was no question that Microsoft Virtual Earth was a hastily-assembled imitation of Virtual Earth. But with the Live! Services, Microsoft is showing some initiative. I look to Google to be the engine of the industry innovation, however, and this announcement, with as much play is it got, simply didn't deliver.

Posted by Peter Varhol on 04/06/2007

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