Loci 2008: Matt Cutt’s Important Local Articles of 2008

Matt Cutts from Google is well….Matt Cutts. He doesn’t need much introduction (nor link juice) from me :) .
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Here you go:

Just to reiterate, this is my personal opinion. I would say that in my mind, one main story of Google Maps/Local this year is how it opened up more this year. Overall, that’s a good thing and Google’s service has gotten better as a result:
http://searchengineland.com/google-maps-opens-up-editing-to-everyone-13590
http://blumenthals.com/blog/2008/03/18/google-maps-everyone-can-create-a-business-listing/

But it’s not just editing listing and claiming listings. Google also opened up with Google Map Maker, which has let people around the world contribute a phenomenal amount of data that helps everyone:
http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/06/making-your-mark-on-world.html

The articles that have been the most important to me personally are the ones that point out areas that still need work, although other people might not pay as much attention to them, e.g.
http://searchengineland.com/searching-for-small-businesses-coming-up-frustrated-15112
http://searchengineland.com/google-local-business-hijacking-microsoft-acquires-yahoo-becomes-escort-service-15313

But then again, I tend to dwell on the negative reports or articles that give feedback on ways to improve. I think an average person is more likely to care about traffic conditions:
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/04/google-maps-predicts-traffic-conditions.html
or that Google Maps provided great voter guide information:
http://blumenthals.com/blog/2008/09/20/google-maps-to-provide-complete-voter-information-for-upcoming-election/

I sometimes dwell on the negative feedback that we get, but the Maps/Local products have really improved a lot this year, from much more Street View coverage
http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/12/double-coverage-double-fun.html
to Terrain Maps:
http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/04/last-summer-somewhere-in-adirondacks.html
to a new UI:
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/11/google-maps-has-new-interface.html

Matt

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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6 thoughts on “Loci 2008: Matt Cutt’s Important Local Articles of 2008”

  1. Mike,

    It’s very instructive to hear from Matt on this topic in particular. I know his role is web spam in general, but clearly he’s got a voice in the community and at Google.

    And obviously from his most pointed examples he’s looking at the problem with his spam colored glasses on.

    The challenge of the wiki style editorial (so easily abused by you and Danny) is that the wisdom of crowds requires a crowd. With small businesses there is no crowd, there are only a few references and it doesn’t take long for the impact to be felt decidedly (as in your Denver Flowers example).

    Perhaps it’s my personal bent, but often see “do no evil’ as “power to the people” and clearly the challenge of so large a dataset is “the people” don’t have enough power to move the needle. But when it moves it can have a powerfully negative impact.

    Will

  2. Will
    I am with you. The wiki style editorial will not work in the business listing arena without significant additional layers of review (if then). I don’t see all Map wiki features this way.

    I see a fundamental difference between a wiki edit of a business listing and an edit in Map Maker. The data collected in Map Maker is a valuable basis for creating maps in areas of the world where none exist. There is little motivation to cheat like in the business listing and more incentive to get it right (future safety). The data can also be triangulated against satellite data, gps data and use input to come up with a reasonably correct map.

    Mike

  3. Mike,

    I totally agree that the data collection and aggregation capabilities of Google are a boon to society as a whole.

    A wise friend of mine said, and I’m paraphrasing, “you can’t trust markets to self correct”. In other words, as soon as a system has the opportunity to be economically beneficial to someone, someone is going to behave opportunistically.

    So, to the extent that the boon doesn’t intersect with bad behavior it’s great. When they do, map spam :)

  4. Nice to hear from Matt on this stuff, but I would have loved to hear about some non-Google related stuff (then again maybe there is no such thing any more :))

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