The Beginning of Google Maps and It’s Core Functionalities

Google Maps the way we know it now and a timeline that goes back to 2004.

The world is constantly changing, and so is the way we get around it with help of the evolving technologies. Google Maps has always been the best way to navigate, explore and get things done, wherever you are. In this article we aim to share the historical path of the interface step by step over the years and how they’ve built the tools we use in our everyday routine.

How Did Google Maps Start and a Short Timeline of Major Events

Google acquired three companies – Where 2 Technologies, Keyhole and ZipDash, which have developed respectively a C++ desktop program, a geospatial data visualisation program and real time traffic analysis. This was the beginning of Google Maps and Google Earth applications, which were officially announced on February 8 and June 28, 2005.

Google Maps was born – a new solution to help people “get from point A to point B”, used today by more than 1 billion people all over the world every month. Google Earth landed just a few months after, bringing 3D views of the planet to desktops.

Google Maps for Mobile 2.0 was released, featuring a beta version of a “My Location” feature and in just one year Google Maps app was available for the Android operating system.

Map Maker was added to the American version of Google Maps, allowing users to edit and add changes to Google Maps. 

Google Maps application was available in the App Store as well.

Google Maps was found to be the world’s most popular smartphone app, with over 54% of global smartphone owners using it.  

Following a renovation a new design was introduced leaving the old classic Google Maps interface in the past. Google launched offline maps, so that even when users don’t have connectivity, they can still get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations and find useful information about places. 

Google Maps was updated with accessible imagery of several planets and moons such as Titan, Mercury, and Venus, as well as direct access to imagery of the Moon and Mars.

Google Maps designed its overall view into a 3D globe dropping the Mercator projection that projected the planet onto a flat surface. In July, 2018, 67% of all navigation application users favored Google Maps.

Google Maps was updated to include incident reporting, resembling a functionality in Waze which was acquired by Google in 2013.

Maps received a 15th anniversary redesign. It notably added a brand-new app icon, which now resembles the original icon in 2005.

The latest improvement on Google Maps was added – a layer displaying air quality for certain countries

Google Maps Key Functionality

  • Directions and Transit – Google Maps provides a route planner, allowing users to find available directions through driving, public transportation, walking, or biking.
  • Traffic conditions – In 2007, Google began offering traffic data as a colored overlay on top of roads and motorways to represent the speed of vehicles on particular roads. And so the phrase “there’s a lot of red…” was born.
  • Street View – On May 25, 2007, Google released Google Street View, a feature of Google Maps providing 360° panoramic street-level views of various locations.
  • 45° imagery – In December 2009, Google introduced a new view consisting of 45° angle aerial imagery, offering a “bird’s-eye view” of cities.
  • Indoor maps – In March 2011, indoor maps were added to Google Maps, giving users the ability to navigate themselves within buildings such as airports, museums, shopping malls, big-box stores, universities, transit stations, and other public spaces.
  • My Maps – My Maps is a feature in Google Maps launched in April 2007 that enables users to create custom maps for personal use or sharing. Users can add points, lines, shapes, notes and images on top of Google Maps using an editor.
  • Google Local Guides – Google Local Guides is a volunteer program launched by Google Maps to enable its users to contribute to Google Maps.
  • Time-lapse – Earth Timelapse, released in April 2021, is a program in which users can see how the Earth has changed in the last 37 years.
  • Business Listings – Google collates business listings from multiple online and offline sources. Google allows business owners to create and verify their own business data through the Google Business Profile platform, formerly the Google My Business portal. Owners are encouraged to provide Google with business information including address, phone number, business category and photos. After the business listing has been verified, business owners can further optimise their profile by logging into their Google account and GBP dashboard.
  • Immersive View – It was announced at the Google I/O 2022 event that 3D images would be created using Street View. It was to be initially in five cities worldwide, with plans to add it to other cities later on.

We hope you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it and tell us how you like it.

In our blog, you will have the opportunity to learn more about Business Listing management on Google Maps and other platforms.

Comments are closed.