Joining the herd of Web sites jostling to cash in on the holiday shopping season, online search engine leader Google Inc. is adding a tool designed to make it easier for consumers to map out their local trips to the mall.
I doubt this project took a large amount of time. I've done Google Maps API integration and it takes a whopping hour to "get it" and then, depending on complexity, from another hour to a week at most to integrate to an existing database driven system.
That's some random webmaster using the API, I imagine it'd be faster if the actual programmers were doing the work.
Even useless, this is the first step towards the nirvana of mobile consumer comparison shopping:
1. Point camera phone at product in store. 2. Phone scans UPC or takes pic and OCR's make & model number. 3. Phone finds nearby stores with lower price on identical product. 4. You pick store, your phone gives you driving directions to that store. -OR- 4. You still buy at the store you are in because the price difference isn't that great (or they provide added value).
There was a thread or news story about this just recently, but I can't seem to find it... :(
>>does Google need to spend so much time on all this stuff
Local search is a multi billion dollar industry. Yes, it is very much worth their while.
This is pioneering functionality - albeit simple in nature. They are the early bird and will benefit when the information to support the functionality catches up. Even well before the step whoisgregg describes, this functionality will become unbiquitous. The quality of the data will utlimately dictate when this tipping point occurs.