June 01, 2007

Google map Mashups and show me the money

I noticed in some of the blogging going on this week that there was some questions regarding where the business (aka. revenues) lies in many of the new location-enabled applications and services that are coming online every day... a great question. Indeed at Where 2.0 a common topic of discussion was indeed just that - "the app looks really cool but where's the business model?" This is an even more important question when you look at companies like Fatdoor who launched a social networking service at Where - these guys had a big presence with loads of staff and all the free t-shirts you can handle! So where's the money? Well, much of that is still a mystery.. perhaps drumming up VC. Most of it I suspect will come from the obvious... advertising revenues - think Google! Yesterday at Google's developer day there was much discussion about the direction of the APIs. Something we were told we'll be seeing much more of is advertising... particularly in maps. Not just textual ads surrounding maps like we see everywhere but also, ads embedded within maps. Imagine as you look through your favorite mashup you will be presented with cool little graphic icons from Burger King or McDonalds etc... we were told that developers will have some control and be able to decide if they wish to serve these ads or not. More relevant ads are in the future as well and a move towards improvements like forcing new ads as you pan around the map or ads that change based on zoom level etc... the end result is more options for developers, more cash in their pockets, oh, and loads of advertising cash for Google as well. Enhancements to the Google Ajax Search API enabling users to display search results within their website, the Ajax feed API enabling users to easily load RSS and atom feeds into their websites will enable publishers to easily add compelling content to their sites... think more traffic. Also, on the flip side of ads.. those serving ads will be able to use Google Checkout and integrate the service into their ads.. think "buy now". With the new mashup editor, google gears and in particular, Mapplets, the number of people using google maps mashups is going to increase at an exponential rate for sure. Mapplets will enable people to mashup their mashups (eg. add a crimemapping mashup to your real estate mashup) so developers should be drooling over this as I suspect those that create mapplets will be rewarded with substantially larger adwords revenue checks than what they are used to. See http://code.google.com

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