Session Title: Mapping the Future of Local Search
Session Date: April 19, 2005
Session Time: 4:45 pm – 5:30 pm
Maps are critical to any sort of robust local search experience. Mapping and driving directions are consumer favorites. More recently, dynamic mapping has been introduced allowing consumers to use maps as a doorway into local search and directory listings. But there is still considerably more potential innovation on the horizon. What can we expect from the next generation of mapping tools and how will they become integrated with other utilities to deliver value for consumers searching for local information?
Walt Doyle, VP, Sales & Business Development, MapQuest
Jeremy Kreitler, Product Manager, Maps, Yahoo!
Bill Schwegler, Co-Founder & SVP of Strategic Initiatives, Telcontar
Brad Sims, Manager, Product Development, SuperPages.com
Sukhinder Singh, General Manager, Local & Third Party Partnerships, Google
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Q: Grew up with Rand-McNally, “the mapping company”. No where to be seen online now. Is there room for anyone else, or is the basic group of players that will be mapping, and what types of advances might we see?
Singh: Two things important in mapping. 1) The addition of new data sources (satellite, city blocks, POI); there are new data sources. A picture is just a location biased view of local search. 2) The UI still matters, and there’s lots of innovation possible (panning/zooming). Advances: we’re just beginning to look at GPS and mobility — not far off, not technology but adoption
Doyle: It’s a growing market. In a growing market, leaders benefit disproportionately. Mapquest mobile. Mapquest FindMe.
Q: So why can’t a buy a map of Marin County from Mapquest? Why aren’t you in the print side?
Doyle: Actually we are. We’ll be launching Mapquest Publishing.
Q: Mapping is a secondary way into local information. What would make it a primary, front door, preferred way?
Kreitler: Yahoo! recognized this opportunity with SmartView, tying in YP, but also pulling in other data to make it actionable. Not an issue of customer segments, but of modality [Ed: Agree]
Q: How many have used AAA TripTips
A: Many audience members raise hands
Q: One of the nice things was providing radio stations along the drive. Are those the types of things that we might see?
Sims: Location doesn’t always matter, just showing a list of services to customers
Q: How do we monetize maps (directly)? Different sized icons, POIs that are paid listings, etc?
Schwegler: Localized search is a great equalizer vs. the big boxes. When mobile, and you’re ready to buy a burger, you’re a lead; make it compelling for me to choose your business. Real time maps
Singh: We need to be very careful in thinking about the available real estate and the user experience (usability). Adding 100s of local restaurants is great, but not if it makes the service unusable. I’ve yet to see a graphical implementation of monetization on a map that will not degrade the quality of the user experience, at scale.
Q: What about real-estate? How about being able to see MLS listings on the map, including realtor/sales-person info, etc. And what about printing it out?
Schwegler: The ability to overlay additional spatially related information on the map will happen. For instance, overlaying a house’s property lines.
Singh: A click to overlays, e.g., schools for the real estate environment, is a clear integration point that can happen. It’s a user request for info instead of pushing/crowding
Q: What about buying a map listing; equalizer for small businesses, because they’re the only ones who can occupy that physical space
Sims: True if you’re shopping by location, but not by product. It goes back to content collection and availability [Ed: and modality]
Doyle: About 10% of RE spend is online, but 70% of RE purchases start online. Seems ripe.
Audience Q: Personalization and maps… MyMaps
Schwegler: Key driver, many dimensions. Applying local knowledge. We give you best algo map, but if you know that a certain block is under construction, you could remove it from the route. Sometimes you don’t drive to a destination, you drive to a nearby parking garage; again local knowledge.
Singh: GPS; excluding privacy issues, knowing where you’re actually at is a big driver for starting your search. We’re already seeing telematics, mobile, etc; searching from your desk may be outdated.
Q: What product features are essential; what’s novel, but not useful… Second part, how will increased competition effect those who don’t implement dynamic maps?
Kreitler: Being able to overlay more information, tailoring the experience, making the points provide context, etc. is the big feature.
Schwegler: Multiple channels: computer, mobile, telematics. Hands free operation. Consumer will expect consistent results and a seamless transition from one channel to another
Doyle: It’s really about being useful. Helping people get to places; navigation.
Q: Does satellite radio play a role here?
Schwegler: Broadcast mechanism that knows what you are; can deliver a lot of the overlay data.
Singh: Telematics does the same, but the issue is price point. Satellite radio is all-you-can-eat; getting a lot of adoption at a cheap price point. The question is one of business model.
* These are raw, unproofed notes taken in real-time. Nothing attributed to any speaker should be assumed to be an exact quote. Rather, my goal was to capture and communicate the essence of what was said. If there is a significant mistake, please post a comment or email me; I will make a correction at my earliest opportunity.