Google may have its advantages over Microsoft when it comes to online advertising. But over to mapping services and we can see that both Google and Microsoft are fast aiming to get ready an array of services that will drive the navigational web.
Today, most of the queries on search engines are informational with a minor percentage being transactional and navigational. With a flurry of internet ready mobile devices waiting to enter the market, things are going to change. Google is fast bolstering its Street View and making it part of the navigational search while there are rumors on more services getting added to even map the ocean (there is already Google sky). Google has been particularly intent on getting out as much information as possible (such as guessing directions) to users in as few clicks as possible.
Microsoft is not to be left behind. Way back in 2006 itself they had shed light on how making real time data available via a map could be very beneficial to users. Called the Senseweb, the engine would make available data from sensors volunteered by individuals so that real time information on several navigational queries is analyzed and sent to users instantly (for example real time traffic data).
Microsoft’s Live Local (formerly Virtual Earth) already competes with Google Earth in making maps more interactive and accessible.
With mobile internet devices being the next wave in technology, people are bound to carry their devices with them and the need to use them for more everyday scenarios will rise. Also with intent based advertising models, there is a lot more information inherent in navigational queries that can be used to targeted very specifics ads to users.
With Yahoo presently off its radar, Microsoft could well be looking to expand its reach in the mapping space with perhaps key features that give it a real edge over other services.