What it means: very limited for now but a sure sign that local search sites all over the world are finally understanding that they need to open up some of their data to allow mash-ups. You want to become part of the “grain” of the Web if you want to be successful in the future.
Via the Google Operating System blog:
“Google has bought Endoxon, a Swiss company focused on web-based geo information services. The company provided imagery for map.search.ch, a successful map service, and local.ch, a local search service – both limited to Switzerland.”
“Endoxon has been working on a technology called “blue”, that extends their products to the whole world. “blue is visualized information on the web. blue is the clever linking of a world map server, a search engine and a GIS. blue is a high-quality, comprehensive points- and map server, a virtual worldwide marketplace, a search and services platform. The user can search for information or he can visualize his own collected information. The download of selected blue data onto the mobile phone is possible. But blue is not only a vision. Its reality: Endoxon has been collecting, enhancing and geo referencing worldwide satellite and aerial images for a couple of years now.”
“Google acquired Endoxon’s internet, mapping and data processing business units. Google says the acquisition “will enable us to leverage their analysis capabilities and will help us build out and improve the functionality of Google Earth and Google Maps across Europe.”
What it means: maps are a key element of local search and Google certainly wants to improve their European user experience with this acquisition. In their FAQ on the Endoxon web site, Google explains why they’re buying Endoxon: “Endoxon’s assets and its European network bolster engineering and technical resources for Google. This acquisition of Endoxon will enable us to leverage their analysis capabilities and will help us build out and improve the functionality of Google Earth and Google Maps across Europe.”