I love Google Maps. I have no sense of direction whatsoever, and since the days of Mapquest on my AOL in the late 90’s I’ve been hooked on the category. Google Maps has always been the best for me given how uncluttered it is, the crisp AJAX display, and recently the actual street views! Oh, and for a while there I was using it with the GPS in my blackberry to guide me everywhere. Oh how I loved it.
So what if Google Maps actually got intelligent? Today, if I enter my trip, I’ll get the estimated travel time and a second number for with traffic. Google Maps should tell me how long it will take if I were to leave now. Give me the option to change the time of the trip and then estimate traffic load at that time. Or, if I’m a Google Calendar user, see if this syncs up with any of my appts and take the time from there w/an estimate. Think about how many times you’ve had to factor in traffic, etc in your head. With traffic data becoming so cheap and omnipresent, this is a no-brainer. Photos are cool– this is actionable and would help me be on time more. The question people ask when they get to Google maps are 1) How do I get there? and 2) How long will it take me to get there? This improves the second part of that question.
Full disclosure, this was one of the ideas that I suggested to Google when I interviewed with them in 07. I’ll blog about the second suggestion I had later in the week.