It’s social software

James Fee wonders about reactions to a blog post by David Maguire on Google Earth, entitled “Geographic Exploration – The New Fad?“, and I am happy to oblige.

Who is David Maguire? As a GIS neophyte (I have friends who do GIS!) I had no clue, but I do now. He is “director of products” (is that like product manager, only different?) for ESRI, the company considered to be the world leader in GIS software and technology, and which has been sounding a tad defensive now that mass mapping as envisaged by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! is enjoying the limelight.

Maguire implies that Google Earth and its ilk are a fad, a bubble, and rhetorically wonders why people have written about it. He can think of six reasons: It’s Google, it’s free, it’s easy, it’s detailed, it’s fast and it’s different, (but read the post yourself).

That’s sort of stunning, because to me, the most important reason why Google Earth and Maps are a runaway success is not on his list: It’s social software. Google Earth is an extremely compelling canvas that people are using to link their experiences in the real world to the web.

Just one example: This afternoon, as soon as I heard about the copycat bombings in London, I fired up Google Earth, turned on my Blogwise network link and zoomed in on London. Five seconds later, a slew of local blogs popped up on the screen, including one I remembered having had exhaustive coverage of the bombings two weeks ago. Sure enough, within minutes I had read through a minute-by-minute account of this latest ordeal.

Meanwhile, with Google Maps, it’s all about open APIs allowing us to be creative in a myriad ways, doing things with a collective intelligence that no company, not even Google, could ever foresee.

But at least Google knows this.

2 thoughts on “It’s social software”

  1. Stefan Reacts to David Maguire’s Blog Entry

    Link – It’s social software Stefan Geens read David’s post and has an interesting take on it. Stefan doesn’t know much about GIS and even admits it, so his viewpoint is from an “ESRI outsider”. Maguire implies that Google Earth…

  2. Dela bok-kommentarer med Flickr – hjâlp till!

    Jag gàr många anteckningar i marginalerna på mina bàcker. Kommentarer, och ofta hânvisningar till andra bàcker, som “Jfr Cooper: The…

Comments are closed.