October 22, 2013
Google Looks To Map Its Way Into The Business World
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
On Monday, search giant Google announced it is looking to expand its popular Google Maps platform beyond the consumer-user base and plans to begin targeting businesses via the Maps Engine Pro.Unlike the consumer version of Google Maps, the company is also looking to monetize this new business version with a monthly subscription.
The new platform will allow businesses to update data into its Google Maps, where it can be visualized and even analyzed. The service will be available to users via Google’s public cloud computing platform for $5 a month.
“Today we’re announcing a new professional mapping tool, Google Maps Engine Pro, which lets businesses visualize their data on a map,” Brian McClendon, vice president of maps and earth for Google, posted on the company’s enterprise blog on Monday. “By importing data like addresses, names, office locations and sales leads from various file formats onto a map, businesses can edit, analyze and share their information in a simple format. Google Maps Engine Pro can be as easy to use as creating a document and it gives businesses an added productivity tool to help make decisions, organize information, and plan operations using Google Maps.”
Businesses can use the maps to find store locations and help travelers reach their destinations, McClendon noted.
According to McClendon, Google Maps Engine Pro was built as an application on top of the existing Google Maps Engine platform and is designed as a cloud-based solution that can be used to organize large datasets while also creating much more complex maps. This can be used not just for plotting client or customer addresses, but can also be used to note different price regions, locations where business might be slow or even nonexistent, and it can even be used to determine potential new locations.
Companies can even rely on public datasets, including building development plans that can help businesses determine plans for a growing area.
“Anything that has an address or physical place of being is not helped by spreadsheets. Maps Engine Pro uploads that info and places it on a map,” Heather Folsom, the Maps Engine Pro product manager, told Cnet on Monday.
Driving directions will also be integrated soon, while the database can support 10 layers and 2,000 rows per import.
Google also announced several new features to Google Maps Engine including a mobile app that will allow individuals to access the maps created in Google Maps Engine, Maps Engine Pro or Maps Engine Lite. From shared maps users will also be able to access the data in these maps from any Android device whilst on-the-go.
The new Connector Tools was also introduced to make it easier for users to migrate data from existing legacy systems – such as SAP – into Maps Engine. More than 300 business and geospatial applications are now available via the connector, and it features an ESRI Toolbar that allows users to transfer ArcGIS maps into the Map Engine.
There is even an Introductory Account that will allow businesses the chance to test out Google Maps Engine, and it supports the product’s full platform capabilities, including API access. It does limit the number of map queries per day however, but it could be a way for businesses to determine if this is a way of mapping future business opportunities.