Nokia Launches “Walking Directions” for Series 60 and 40 Phones

Nokia announced this morning at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the launch of their Maps 2.0 service, for its Series 60 and 40 phones. According to the BBC News Web site,

Nokia has launched navigation tools designed to make the paper street map obsolete for pedestrians. The firm’s next generation of digital maps gives real-time walking directions on the mobile phone screen, just like sat-nav systems which guide drivers. “Nokia is taking navigation services out of the car so it can always be with you,” said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, president and CEO of the firm. “Struggling with oversized paper maps will become a thing of the past.”

Nokia 6210 Navigator Maps 2.0Nokia_6210_Navigator

What it means: another local application attached to mobile devices. This one is squarely competing against any mapping web site or any site that relies heavily on mapping as a main attraction. It could also be a threat to paper travel guides (see also Travel Guides Still Selling Well, Saved by Portability) (pictures by Nokia)

Wall Street Journal: Google Has Even Bigger Plans for Mobile Phones

This morning’s Wall Street Journal summarizes the various elements of Google’s mobile strategy:

 

  • Developed Android software for mobile phones.
  • Made Google applications — including email, chat and mapping — available on cellphones.
  • Sells advertisements for certain Web sites accessed by cellphone.
  • Enables users to do Web and business searches with cellphone browsers, by text message or with a call.
  • Is testing an advanced wireless network at Google headquarters.
  • Operates a free Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, Calif.
  • Expected to bid for wireless spectrum in a January FCC auction.

What it means: very serious, multi-prong wireless strategy. Google definitely sees the opportunity in mobile. BTW, I find myself blogging more and more about mobile internet. This must mean something…

Wall Street Journal: Google Has Even Bigger Plans for Mobile Phones

This morning’s Wall Street Journal summarizes the various elements of Google’s mobile strategy:

 

  • Developed Android software for mobile phones.
  • Made Google applications — including email, chat and mapping — available on cellphones.
  • Sells advertisements for certain Web sites accessed by cellphone.
  • Enables users to do Web and business searches with cellphone browsers, by text message or with a call.
  • Is testing an advanced wireless network at Google headquarters.
  • Operates a free Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, Calif.
  • Expected to bid for wireless spectrum in a January FCC auction.

What it means: very serious, multi-prong wireless strategy. Google definitely sees the opportunity in mobile. BTW, I find myself blogging more and more about mobile internet. This must mean something…

Nokia Bets on Local, Acquires NAVTEQ

(via eWeek and Reuters)

Nokia said on Oct. 1 it will offer $8.1 billion for U.S.-based digital map supplier Navteq in one of its largest takeovers ever, but its shares fell as analysts dubbed the deal “expensive.” The acquisition would give the world’s top cellphone maker—which is looking for new revenue sources as the cellphone industry matures—a stronghold in the navigation business, one of the fastest-growing segments in the technology industry.

What it means: in a deal that underlines the importance of mobile in the local space (and vice-versa!), Nokia makes its biggest bet so far and buys an important piece of the local search ecosystem. I think it confirms some of the things I was writing about last week in my When will Mobile Become the Next Big Thing? post.

GeoPrism: Generate Local Leads From Satellite Imagery

(via OnlineMediaDaily)

Geospatial data integration company Geosemble announced GeoPrism, a lead generation service that is the first to use artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to automatically generate sales leads based on satellite imagery. Using Geosemble’s map fusion and image analysis technology, swimming pools, roofs in need of repair, cracked driveways, large open backyards, etc.–can be “seen” from above, and automatically cross-referenced with city parcel data to extract the names and addresses of their owners. The resulting data are then provided to manufacturers of swimming pools and cleaning supplies, yard furniture, storage unit manufacturers, landscapers, and even contractors vying to fill open spaces with garage and house additions and backyard offices. (…)

What it means: what a smart way to use and potentially monetize existing satellite data in a local context. These guys should try to partner with directory publishers (and vice-versa).

Lat49: Map-Based Advertising Network

Today is the first day of TechCrunch 40, a Web 2.0 conference organized by the TechCrunch techology blog. The organizers have selected 40 start-ups that are going to announce and demo their product during the conference. In addition, they have a demo pit where 99 companies (who are not in the top 40) will also demo their new products.

I just got an e-mail from one of those companies, BC-based Lat49.com. They want to build a map-based advertising network. The following illustrates how it works:

lat49

“Advertisers buy the exclusive advertising rights to map real estate using the lat49 self-serve interface. An advertiser’s ad placements display each time a site visitor using a lat49 partner map views the advertiser’s territory. Land parcels can be bought at multiple zoom levels to suit the goals of the particular advertising campaign. Owning the map’s most zoomed out country view will support branding initiatives while local advertisers may choose to regionally tune their messaging and target the local, street, neighborhood, or urban level audiences.”

What it means: the concept is interesting as more and more sites are using maps powered by Google, Yahoo or MSN and mapping is a very high usage category on the Web. Two main challenges though: getting map-based sites to use their ad serving technology and getting enough advertisers on board to make it worthwhile for publishers.

July Update to Microsoft Virtual Earth

The Microsoft Virtual Earth team just announced their latest update. It includes a new rendered map style that they’ve been calling ‘hill shaded’ which gives their road style maps the ability to show elevation. You can see what it looks like on their blog.

In addition, all of these cities/regions have new or expanded Aerial imagery and most have textured 3D buildings and cityscapes

Canada: Hamilton, Quebec, Toronto (Montreal is in their next release)

Quebec City MSN Virtual Earth 3D

Europe: Toulouse France, Eastbourne UK

United States: Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile, Phoenix (expanded), Arden, Denver (expanded), Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Tallahassee, Fort Myers, Tampa West, St Petersburg, Coral Gables, Cape Coral West, Pembroke Pines, Orlando, Hialea, Columbus GA, Jackson, Oak Park IL, Rockford IL, Ohare IL, Baton Rouge, Shreveport New Orleans, Metarie, Jersey City, Elizabeth, East Ruth, Newark, Paterson, Brooklyn, Niagara Falls, Portland (expanded), Nashville, Chattanooga, Milwaukee

What it means: Microsoft continues moving towards the creation of a virtual 3D world. I think most people do not see the full value at this point but I’m convinced we’ll be able to do local shopping in MSN Virtual Earth within a three to five-year period.