25 February 2009

Google Maps finally available for South Africa!

It has happened... After years of groping blindly around a very bare mapping system (and doing ourselves no favours trying to prove we're a thriving metropolis with only one main road)... Google Maps is now available for South Africa.

This is a big, big moment in our Internet history. Map companies must be terrified.

Click to enlarge...

Now things get interesting. Watch out for:

1. How quickly this rolls out to the iPhone. The iPhone's GPS capabilities, as far as I know, are largely based on Google Maps with GPS integration.

2. Many, many mashup startups that leverage the power of detailed, free mapping.

3. Every man and his dog registers on the Business Centre for Maps. Not necessarily a bad thing.

4. Google Latitude takes on The Grid. Ok - I kid, I kid. Although they might be a little worried. Rather expect The Grid to pull in the new mapping technology and reinforce their position as the most beta, yet only geo-location network that has penetration power in this country.

5. Map results start appearing in local search.

6. Local services, not just companies start plotting. Restaurants, bank branches, petrol stations... you name it.

7. Map companies panic and start advertising.

Exciting times... Seacom cable. Free mapping. It's all happening eh?

What do you think is the biggest benefit Google Maps will bring to SA?