Category Archives: Google Maps

Google Maps off base in the Valley … Bing Maps right on

As I was planning my trip in the valley this week, I was printing of Google Maps to take me from my hotel to meetings and to the SES San Jose. I am staying at the Sheraton San Jose in Milpitas. The exact address is 1801 Barber Lane, Milpitas, CA, 95035, USA. When I was printing my iternary on Friday I did not really notice the placement of the icon on the map for the location of the hotel. Driving from the SFO on Sunday night to the hotel, I noticed the mistake.

Here is the screenshot from Google Maps for this exact query “1801 Barber Ln, Milpitas, CA, 95035, USA” notice where Google plots the location, the yellow circle is where the location actually is. Click the images below to load the maps.

Google Maps Error - 1801 Barber Ln, Milpitas, CA, 95035

I tried the same map search using Bing Maps, they hit the location:

Bing Maps Correct - 1801 Barber Lane, Milpitas, CA

I am sure that Google will be correcting the geo-code for this location once they see the image listed above. All in all, the inconvenience was not that bad, took me a few extra minutes, a few scratches on the forehead and my iPhone to get to the right location on Sunday night.

Morale of the story : double-check your printed maps before leaving and verify using Satellite view (I would have noticed the mistake if I looked at Satellite view) – sometimes they may be a little off.

Local Search in Canada Using the Apple iPhone – a Visual Comparision

As the iPhone becomes more and more popular in Canada I decided to take a look at 4 local web products, YellowPages.ca, 411.ca, Canpages.ca, and Google Maps.

I selected these as they all have iPhone compatible versions of their websites. Google Maps is a standard icon on the iPhone by default.

For this particular test I decided to focus on a popular generic category search (dentists in Toronto) and a very specific landmark search (restaurants by Eau Claire Market). For those of you who don’t know, Eau Claire Market is a popular destination located in downtown Calgary. I believe that landmarks would be important search criteria for mobile products.

In terms of ranking, I have decided not to rank the results. For the landmark search I indicated success or failure. You be the judge in terms of your personal preference. Please feel free to add a comment on your favorite or suggest other sites in Canada that have iPhone versions.

Let’s start with what happens when you bookmark the websites above and put them on your iPhone desktop.

Local Search Icons on iPhone Canada

From left to right:

Maps (Google) – this is default on your iPhone. One issue that I have is that Apple or Google have failed to customize this icon for regions – notice the US highway signage.

YellowPages.ca – In Canada, Yellow Pages(TM) is a registered trademark and when you bookmark you get the logo on your desktop.

411.ca– They have a unique icon and tell you 411 at the beginning of the text string. The ouch! at the end is a little weird though.

Canpages.ca – No custom icon, uses a screenshot that clearly tells the user nothing.

Let’s look at each property individually based on my two search queries.

First we try Google Maps – “dentists in Toronto” search on Map view.

iphone_google_dentists_toronto.jpg

The same search done via list view.

Google Maps Toronto Dentists

Here is the screenshot of the details of the business listing.

iphone_google_dentists_details.jpg

Finally we will conduct “restaurants by Eau Claire Market”. This search failed as the results are located in Toronto. Google did not recognize this landmark.

iphone_google_dentists_restaurants.jpg

Second we try YellowPages.ca here is the screenshot for the “dentists in Toronto” search. NOTICE: with YellowPages.ca you also have the ability to switch to find a person in Canada using Canada411.ca.

YellowPages Canada Toronto Dentists

Here are the results of this search.

iphone_yellowpages_dentists_results.jpg

Here is the details of a business listing

iphone_yellowpages_dentists_details.jpg

Finally we will conduct “restaurants by Eau Claire Market“. This search was a success, landmark was recognized.

iphone_yellowpages_restaurants_eau_claire.jpg

Third we try 411.ca here is the screenshot for the “dentists in Toronto” search.

iphone_411_dentists_search.jpg

Here are the results of this search.

iphone_411_dentists_results.jpg

Here is the details of a business listing

iphone_411_dentists_details.jpg

Finally we will conduct “restaurants by Eau Claire Market”. This search failed as the results are located in Ontario. 411.ca did not recognize this landmark.

iphone_411_restaurants_eau_claire.jpg

Fourth we try CanPages.ca here is the screenshot for the “dentists in Toronto” search.

iphone_canpages_dentists_search.jpg

Here are the results of this search.

iphone_canpages_dentists_results.jpg

Here is the details of a business listing

iphone_canpages_dentists_details.jpg

Finally we will conduct “restaurants by Eau Claire Market”. This search failed CanPages.ca did not recognize this landmark.

iphone_canpages_restaurants_eau_claire.jpg

If you want to see another comparison - check out Taking a Look at Local Merchant Pages in Canada - a post from last December.

Taking a Look at Local Merchant Pages in Canada

I thought it would be interesting to run a blog post comparing different ways to present information on local businesses in Canada. Most local business sites present information in a standardized way, so the following examples will give you an idea of what some of the most common players in Canada are doing. By the way – there are many small regional players in the local space, however, for this particular post I wanted to focus on sites that the majority of Canadians who recognize.

Lastly I had to reduce the images to fit within my blog post – so for a real comparison, please click on the images to load the full page.

YellowPages.ca has recently launched a new look merchant page – see screenshot below from Martin Grove Volkswagen in Toronto.

Martin Grove Volkswagon on YellowPages.ca

Here is a screen shot of the same company on Google Maps

Martin Grove Volkswagen on Google

Here is a screen shot from Yahoo Local

Martin Grove Yahoo Local


LATimes Homicide Report – Drill Down Content Down Right

At least once per week, I just over and visit Google Maps Mania to see what the latest map mashups they have posted. Some of them are very interesting and really demonstrate how you can integrate maps and content together. One post that was intriguing was the launch of the LATimes Homicide Report, posted by Mike Pegg.

LA Times Homicide Report Map Mashup

You can see the actual Homicide Map at the LATimes web site however some of the features include:

* Filter by victim’s race, gender, cause of death, and other parameters
* Find homicides near an address and/or ZIP code
* View photos of victims and link to Leovy’s reports
* RSS feeds or Google Earth viewing

Now, before you start thinking that I like to view “morbid” content online, I will tell you why I am posting specifically about this site. If you disregard the content, ie) the homicides, and simply appreciate the mashup for the simplicity of the design and the ability, as a user to very easily “drill-down” and filter the content – you may agree with me that this is a very well done mashup.

This is a great example of a traditional media outlet who has combined their content with a user focused interface. I give full credit to the design team and I think this mashup has lots of lessons that can learned by other traditional media about how to combine content and user interface.

Here’s a thought for traditional media – what if you take this concept and bring local news, community events, etc. in the same presentation? I may want to view my news at a global, national, regional, city or local view – could my local news content be plotted on a map? Could it contain a method to drill-down and filter the content using the same approach?

Google Maps Advertising: Early Results Very Positive

Back on July 5, I posted Google Maps Advertising: How to do it and does it work and I wanted to share some early results.

Using thebralady.ca as the destination site and running both a regular adwords campaign as well as a local business ad campaign combined with conversion tracking when a user lands on the Maps page I have been surprised at the early results of this campaign.

So what have I discovered?

CTR (click thru rate): the CTR for the map advertising is outperforming that of the regular search ad by well over 50%.

Conversion Rate: This is the biggest surprise, the conversion rate on the clicks from the maps advertising is twice (that’s correct – 2 times) that of clicks coming from the search network.

Going into this campaign, I had no expectations, I did suspect however that maps may not be as successful. I am surprised by the results. What this suggests to me is that users are starting to learn the behavior of finding local businesses on maps and if the results continue, could potentially be a powerful tool in local advertising.

I will keep you posted on developments.

Toronto Taxi Fare Finder – Google Maps Mashup

Here is a great example of another mapping service (developed with Google Maps) that combined mapping with a function that most travellers always ask themselves – how much are cab rides going to cost me? The site is Toronto Taxi Finder and is part of a network that includes Boston, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

There is even a full mobile version that you can use on your cell phone – check out the Toronto Mobile Taxi Fare Finder.

So I wanted to determine how accurate the figures where. A common trip that I take is from my office at Yellow Pages Group which is 325 Milner Avenue, Toronto, Ontario to Pearson Airport. The rate from Toronto Taxi Finder was $77.87 and I normally pay $60. Not exactly sure how the rates are calculated, but they appear to be on the high side in Toronto. However, this is a great tool for business or personal travelling for budgetting and planning purposes. Even if you live in Toronto and don’t take a taxi often, this can really help you guage your costs. Looking for a taxi in toronto – check out YellowPages.ca.


Toronto Taxi Finder