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Google Maps design gurus to speak at RoadMap 2013

One of the quiet trends unfolding right in front of our eyes is the marriage of the physical and digital worlds. It is one of the reasons why despite doubters I remain a believer in Foursquare. And perhaps that is why I find Square, disruptive and a game changer.

Jonah JonesBut the biggest challenge of this symbiotic union of our physical and digital worlds is how we are going to interface with an increasing amount of data, that is becoming richer and complex. In the real world, our eyes, sense of smell and ability to hear allows us to paint a memory that sits in the deep crevices of our brains. The digital world doesn’t have the sensory context . . . yet. And that is why navigating through petabytes of data is a vexing problem.

Bernhard SeefeldA few months ago, when discussing the redesign of Google Maps, I posed the question to Bernhard Seefeld and Jonah Jones, who have spent nearly eight years working on Google Maps. That breadth of experience has given the duo a deep understanding of how we use data to find our way in the world today.

That conversation turned into an hour length discussion about the sociology of maps, their evolution and how they reflect the times we create those maps.

As I left that Google’s offices, I asked  Jones and Seefeld if they would come and speak at our experience design-themed RoadMap Conference and discuss how maps, data and cloud are going to influence our interactions with the world around us. And they said yes!

Are maps the new portal to our future? We shall find out on November 5th & 6th, when Google Maps gurus will join us on stage at GigaOM’s Roadmap 2013 conference in San Francisco. Join us!

6 Responses to “Google Maps design gurus to speak at RoadMap 2013”

  1. What Maps?

    Square is the one “disruptive, game changer” that is worth a throw-away mention before moving into the ‘meat’ of the article? Really? Credit Card Processing? There is exactly ZERO that is innovative about accepting credit card payments for goods and services. Zero. It is an interesting and worthwhile pursuit to try to break the monopolies on payment processing with the possible (but not guaranteed) goal of lowering fees, but how is that “innovation”? Isn’t it still just accepting credit card payments for processing? How low have we sunk that this is considered ‘disruptive innovation’. It looks a lot like paying for s#it with a credit card, to me.

    PS – the most recent version of Google Maps (for Android) is about the worst sofware upgrade I’ve seen in years. How is forcing me to care about “what’s nearby”, but at the same time taking away my personal list of painstakingly created and stored addresses (“My Places”), an improvement? Why would anyone think that “showing me something nearby” is going to be more important to me than “showing me the addresses I intentionally created and saved?”. Isn’t it reasonable to assume that the thing I ALREADY SAID IS IMPORTANT TO ME is actually important to me? More important, even, than some other random thing that might happen to be nearby an address I am already interested in? I don’t know who thought that up, but they aren’t a “Guru”. More likely, they are “Sales and Marketing”.

  2. Rann Xeroxx

    I totally agree with all of these comments. I got the update on my Google Maps and quickly removed the update as I could no longer cache offline maps. This is critical for me as I live in an area with very spotty connections. I don’t mind “paying” for my apps with ads or businesses highlighted in the maps (as long as its not distracting), Google is a business after all, but these can be incorporated into offline cache.

    If this is not fixed then I spend $20 and buy an offline map app and Google gets no info at all.

  3. Gurus? Is the tech press so out of touch that they call these bozos gurus?

    If they had spent 8 years working on Google Maps and then had left 2 years ago, and had nothing to do with the releases in 2013 I would call them gurus. But they’ve taken what was a killer app for Android and converted it into something that is getting people (and myself) thinking about looking into Microsoft smartphones. I’m sure as “heck” not going to upgrade my phone’s OS and be stuck with the new version of Maps. Why not switch? It can’t be much worse.

  4. I wish these 2 would pay attention to the 10+ thousands of us that have taken the time to complain about the tools they removed from the Android G Maps app. While the look and feel of the newer version is a triumph, they have gimped several extremely useful tools for road warriors like myself (en-route navi layers, easily sharing locations, jumping into navi from Contacts – now requires at least 3 extra touches, Latitudes, My Maps, etc.). All very important to people that actually use G Maps for Android as their main navi and mapping tool. Not to mention simple basic functions that no longer work fluidly like they did in the previous iteration (Re-routing, time calculations, and accuracy to name a few). I’m actually unhappy enough that I will be avoiding updating to Android 4.3, because at that point the “new” maps will be the native OS app and unable to be rolled back to the 4.1/4.2 version. Form doesn’t always trump Function. The new look is great – keep it – just please fix these things that we, the users, deemed absolutely necessary…