Where 2.0: Google is Opening the GeoIndex

Today, John Hanke, Director of Geo for Google and co-founder of Keyhole, increased the relevance of Google’s geoindex by opening it to all developers. In an upcoming release this data will be available via Google’s search APIs. We’ve been able to access their geoindex via search in Google Maps (it’s the community data sets). Live Maps also exposes its geoindex to consumers.

geoindex 2007

The geoindex is growing. The image to the right shows all of the points in Google’s version of the geoindex as of May, 2007 (image courtesy of Google). As of May 2008 there has been over 300% growth in places of annotations. It is mostly KML with some GeoRSS. This segment of the talk included a random Google fact. Did you know that 8 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute? I sure didn’t. Wow.

It was just over a year ago that Google released MyMaps, a platform for creating mashups and geodata on Google’s platform. It was a move heralded by some as screwing Platial and other mashup sites. Instead I believe it is going to help them by creating more demand for geocontent and more methods for it to be shared (Radar post).

They’ve also added the ability to search the geoindex from Google Maps on Mobile (GMM in Googler parlance)

Platial is also moving to mobile (Radar post). It will be interesting to see if these two products parallel aspects of each other as much as the browser-based ones do.

John Hanke invited Jack Dangermond on stage. Jack is the founder and CEO of ESRI; he is the godfather of GIS and by extension neogeography. Jack and John are the only people who have spoken at every Where 2.0. The upcoming release of ArcGIS Server 9.3, ESRI’s flagship product, will now publish in KML and GeoRSS. Every install will be able to output to a streaming KML file. There’s always been a dark web of geodata. Now this is being exposed and we can expect the geoindex to grow because of it.