Whitey - 9:30 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)
i question the value of that map for a lot of searches. for example, if you enter "new york hotel" you get a map that encompasses 50-square miles with 6 seemingly random hotels on it.
Google has access to as much data as any OTA. All they have to do is apply a search filter on the screen and they'll provide full control of that. The problem is that replacing the first steps that all other meta search business' perform also weakens the capacity to service a) the affiliate model that most OTA's trade between themselves with e.g. airline to hotel, and b ) it can't get down to room level comparison - so will not not be a viable long term solution experience at meta data level.
Whatever Google decide to do here it needs to be an enhanced experience and deliver the $$'s for them.
Moving on to other verticals - they must have the data, so those searches are likely to become more refined.
I think Marissa Mayer's "Fundamental Shift in Search" line during the Google Instant presentation signals an actual fundamental shift in Google's core mission.
Really what's driving all this is the switch to mobile and all the functiionality that can come with it . And i really think that Google has a fight on it's hands morphing from a desktop search to mobile search.
Strange how Microsoft/Bing doesn't appear to be responding. But they were late to the party before.
Clearly strategies that depend on desktop search are in decline. The convenience of the mobile , use of social media and applications is going to rise, and Google will have a smaller slice of this pie than it did of search. All it can do here is buy up applications and and put in a strategy here and one there.
I don't think maps on a local level is providing Google with much advantage. Anyone with a telephone number can participate with it's local Telco alternative more easily and some localised brands are very strong, especially the Yellow Pages - even 10 years down the track of it's virtual extinction , which Telco's covert.
Local search alternatives have strongly resisted Google in newsprint and book directory form - simply because adoption was slow . I do think they have a global fight on their hands here - still , it's a big market.
Just my 2 cents worth.