Amazon’s A9 Announces Maps
I think this has been around since late June, but A9/Amazon is doing a formal announcement about A9 Maps. A combination of “Block View” and MapQuest, the site is so far unique in offering street level photographs of storefronts along with graphical maps.
As I said at the time, if Google Earth and A9 started dating that would really be something. Seriously, someone is ultimately going to piece together the aerial and the street views and that will be really interesting. Admittedly, people aren’t going to use Google Earth to find the best Mexican restaurant or the local library—that’s like using a flame thrower to light a match—but some of these features will make their way to the Web via Google Maps.
Over time people will become accustomed to and appreciate more dynamic mapping.
While some have dismissed “Block View” as nothing more than a novelty, I believe that consumers find value in this visual information—or perhaps more precisely will value it when they discover it exists.
Driven by broadband, the Internet is becoming more and more a rich “multimedia” (to use the tired term) environment, think Flickr, podcasting, video. Interactive and visual mapping is broadly consistent with that larger trend.
More: SiliconBeat mini-interview with A9’s Barnaby Dorfman (no API so far).