Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Microsoft Live Maps Actually Pretty Good?

I am not usually a big Microsoft fan boy, but I have to admit with being impressed by the news developments on Live Maps. Techcrunch gives a few really good reasons why its worth a look at. The two that get my attention are: —Landmarks are now given in driving directions that indicate you’ve gone too far. —Black is the new red. Traffic speed is now shown with four colours (green, yellow, red, and black). Black means total standstill, versus red, which means creeping logjam. - They have simplified directions so that you don't get "overly complicated instructions", which is pretty much the way most of us remember stuff. I like these developments because they focus on simplifying the user experience and making it more meaningful. It's interesting because of the messaging and interactions that will be required around these "Live!" services. Booked to go on a car journey across town or further afield? How about getting an sms to tell you that a certain intersection is now closed, and have a new map pushed to your phone, or dash? Perhaps you have booked an appointment with a doctor at 12.00 in the city centre. At the moment you could see a Google embedded map on the doctors site, and perhaps got some driving instructions on how to get there. But what if you could subscribe to get a live update from the "map" courtesy of the doctor to let you know that traffic was busy on that route and you might want to leave earlier or book another route? Its not a huge leap to say that this could be integrated and synchronised with a group calender function or deliveries software either. There are going to be huge process benefits to be reaped by closer co-ordination and synchronisation of people, assets, and places.

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