Can you say "maps for everyone"?
Josh Peterson compares and contrasts attitudes towards using their maps at Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.
Let's do a little summary (but go read Josh's post for the note of incredulity and the links to some of these things):
- Google has open APIs, and is putting up prize money for innovative uses of the API, and allows commercial usage (oh, right, and has that whole 3D Earth thing, too)
- Yahoo has open APIs, but doesn't allow commercial usage
- Microsoft's MapPoint charges per map generated
If I were a commercial entity relying on mapping, I would actually want to pay Google (or whomever) to ensure service and support. But if I had the flexibility to decide for myself to NOT pay, and still get great service (or "good enough", given my business model, risk tolerance, etc.)...well, yeah, that's the option I would pick.
Update: this network link connection to Google Earth is almost enough incentive to rush out and buy a Windows machine to run Google Earth on. Yes, I just blew my own mind.
BTW, one of Josh's 43 Places users put together a Greasemonkey script that adds Google Maps to 43 places.
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