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Google Maps and Takes Over the World

David Silversmith
David Silversmith

GPS turn-by-turn navigation has historically been something you had to pay for. But Google is now offering it for free - changing the shape of the GPS industry with one announcement.

While creating and maintaining a map of the entire world, together with points of interests and traffic info costs millions of dollars - Google is rolling out another free application.  The result was simply devastating for shares of GPS companies: Garmin’s shares fell by 16.4%; TomTom’s by 20.8%. That is billions of dollars of market capitalization gone in one day.  TomTom and Garmin are not ready to close shop and go out of business, but it does mean their market has fundamentally changed literally overnight.

The major saving grace for these GPS companies is that  for now Google Maps Navigation works only on Android 2.0 devices and is only available in the US.  However, as the screen capture shows to the right - clearly the New Zealand data is already in testing. You could also say carrier charges could be a factor if unlimited Internet access gets too pricey.  Also - in rural areas with spotty coverage a GPS in the car versus one depending on an Internet connection can be the difference between finding your destination and wandering the countryside.

However, countering some of those limitations is an amazing array of features - many of the features you’ve already seen planning a route using Google Maps through a regular web browser and more. Just check out this video:

While Google Maps Navigation is still awhile away from these shores, Google has updagread the real estate search feature on Google Maps in New Zealand. It is now easier to find real estate listings. Simply click "Real Estate" from the 'More' button on the top right of any map on Google Maps to discover listings. From there, you can refine your search using the left hand panel - price, bedrooms, bathrooms, and so on.

Also, from late October/early November, there will be Street View cars in both the North and South Islands so we are certainly getting some attention from Google on the mapping front.

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