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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Full Google Maps Australia

Reto Meier, originally from Perth in Australia, currently works as software developer in London.


Yesterday Google Maps Australia went fully functional with driving directions and local business listings. The local business listings are being provided by Truelocal, an Australian business listings provider owned by News Corp. The Australian (A News Corp newspaper) reports that this is part of the Google / News Corp deal from last year which saw Google Ads displayed in MySpace.

Google has been steadily adding Australian support to Google maps over the last few months, starting with satellite imagery and growing to include local street maps and geocoding, with the Australian Google maps domain going live just before Australia Day. This latest push means that Google Maps Australia now joins Europe and the US in providing full maps functionality, including full Australian support for Google Maps Mobile ( from your phone).

It’s a welcome addition to the Australian local search market that has for years been dominated by Sensis – the ’search’ arm of the formerly government owned telephone monopoly Telstra. Sensis provides Whereis, the incumbent Australian local mapping service, as well as both White (personal) and Yellow (business) pages searches.

Sensis’ Whitepages and Yellowpages have until recently been the listings monopolies, and Whereis (despite or because of its dominance) has been stuck in the Web 1.0 wilderness. I expect the ’in’ for Google will be their excellent maps product, as the current user base for White/Yellow pages searches has been using Sensis for so long it will take some time for Google to start making an impact on local search. But Google’s innovations in mobile search and personalised local search should help it win over market share.


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