Jim Fallows of the Atlantic interviewed Michael Jones, chief technology advocate for Google in the Jan/Feb issue.
Here are the high points for me for those who are too busy to read it:
Biggest change in maps in last decade:
So a map has gone from a static, stylized portrait of the Earth to a dynamic, interactive conversation about your use of the Earth.
What's ahead? More personlization.
You can imagine that in the future, if you have a wearable computer, the dialogue will become even more intimate: you will see a continuous stream of guidance and information, and no one else will even know that you’re being advised.
Effectively, people are about 20 IQ points smarter now because of Google Search and Maps. They don’t give Google credit for it, which is fine; they think they’re smarter, because they can rely on these tools. It’s one reason they get so upset if the tools are inaccurate or let them down. They feel like a fifth of their brain has been taken out.
Will I ever get lost again?
If you have a mobile phone with Google Maps, you can go anywhere on the planet and have confidence that we can give you directions to get to where you want to go safely and easily. No human ever has to feel lost again.
Should geography educators be happy?
....when we were starting Keyhole, we read a report that one-fifth of American elementary-school students couldn’t point out the Pacific Ocean on a map. We thought, “This is wrong. We’re going to fix this problem. We’re going to make learning about the Earth fun, instead of boring.” We were saying, “No, we’re not going to make a game out of the Earth, but we are going to make discovering the Earth a joy”—like you’re dating a planet and you want to know it, to hear all about its past and hopes. That’s what we did...