Did you know that Google Maps was originally made in Australia? Well you do now! Australia is not just a place to have fun in the sun. It’s a place where creativity runs wild too! Check out how a small group of people in Australia is able to change how we see the whole world.
Google Maps was launched 7 years ago, and has been a reliable map service to many users around the world.
It started with two Danish brothers, Lars and Jens Rasmussen. They were both laid off from their Silicon Valley companies in California during the “tech wreck” in 2002. The initial idea of Google Maps was from Jens, who then convinced his brother, Lars. They then teamed up with Australian Stephen Ma and Noel Gordon and co-founded Where 2 Technologies, a mapping related start-up in Sydney. They built a prototype, but failed to secure venture capital interest in California. They then pitched the idea to Google, who agreed to buy the company and the technology in October 2004.
Here’s some awesome stats to show you how Google Maps has grown:
- 40% of all Google Maps usage is from mobile devices.
- 150 million mobile users on Google Maps.
- Google Maps Navigation has guided users 12 billion miles a year, and the latest version with traffic routing saves users 2 years per day in time that would have been spent in traffic.
This popular, free, browser-based software has made it easy for us people who are clueless when it comes to reading maps! The map is also fun when you have time browsing around. Users can engage with the map by viewing other user-generated images from around the world.
And now that it’s available on handheld devices, Google Maps is becoming even more popular. People are now more confident to explore unknown areas now that they have access to the mobile Google Maps and its features. All they need to do is search of the street and Google Maps provide them with directions!
Another feature that made Google Maps quite well-known is that i can be integrated on third party websites. As of July 2012, there are 779,434 sites using Google Maps.
Back to the Google Maps team, it is now not only a 4-person team, but a larger group based in Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters. Some of the engineers, however, are still working on the product in Sydney.
Check out what Lars Rasmussen has to say on creating Google Maps.