Monday, July 6, 2009

Google Maps Malaysia was launched recently as a WIP program which hopes the last mile is built, connected and improved by users. I think it's pretty much what we've tried doing with City's Weekend Escapades utilizing Google's API. But not without some pretty tough challenges, which I really hope to see Google overcome. What we are doing is publishing content hoping to inspire user generated ones. While Google puts the platform together, working with key partners to publish content and hoping for users to correct and improve on the existing content, much like Wikipedia. Hmm. That makes me think. One, for this application to really take off, I think we'll need to wait for it to hit the critical mass (how long will that take? And Malaysia's internet penetration now stands at 59%, is that critical mass?). And secondly, this application would also appeal to tourists/foreigners traveling/living in Malaysia. But remember, you need grassroot support to generate quality content in this kind of situation. The problem with published content is, they're stale! The content from publisher A to B to XYZ is the same!

The reason why we're doing the City's Weekend Escapade is because we realised that Malaysians (especially Klang Valley-ians) aren't all that adventurous unless everything is served right from the kitchen to their mouths. I'm not pouring cold water, I'm sure there are good internet samaritans in Malaysia. But I think perhaps, some kind of carrot or incentive may actually speed things up? Like the much talked about WikiMalaysia project. You really need a lot of cooperation from the mass to pull off something like that. And remember, the 'knowledgeable ones' may not be the 'wired ones' and vice versa. All these are great ideas but I remain sceptical about our market where we can't assume netizens everywhere behave the same. Hmm. > Search for whatever that comes to your mind and watch them appear on the map. > You can make the content more robust by reviewing and correcting misinformation

Compare > City's Weekend Escapade itinerary, 'Back to Basics in Perlis' > Plotted but visually still needs a lot of improvement. To display the itinerary 'visually', still requires user to 'get directions' and plot each destination manually. So yes, we're assuming our users are Google maps intelligent.

Mansion-size room for improvement.

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