Seth Godin posts that you can now watch his talk at Google (hosted, naturally, by Google Video). He’s a well known author and marketing luminary who talks here about the various challenges that Google faces and some of his own thoughts on what’s important when it comes to marketing.
If you get through the whole thing, note how he mentions that there’s a certain amount of ennui forming around Google’s efforts. It was interesting to hear him mention it in this talk right after I mentioned the same thing recently.
Some other funny bits…one Google Maps developer talks about how his sister came to visit and used Mapquest right in front of him. “It was like a dagger through my heart.” When asked what the problem is, Seth posits that it’s a combination of not solving a real problem plus doing something not clearly defensible. He actually mentions the possibility of just saying “it’s not worth fighting this one”.
I’d argue that the AJAX approach in Google Maps did actually solve a real problem. It’s a huge pain in the ass to navigate slowly reloading pages in your browser. If people knew more about it, people would use it. Then again, this does point to the fact that Google Maps being “behind” in terms of traffic is probably a marketing problem.
I think a huge opportunity in Google Maps, marketing wise, comes with integration. I want to, for example, be able to go to my personal page, click on a friend, and then click to be shown directions to their place. Maybe they could make it easy to insert directions to your house in gmail, or embed their map in my site similar to those flash embedded players for video popping up everywhere. Integration is one of the toughest pieces to solve and is something that IS defensible when done correctly.
But anyway, I like Seth Godin a lot. Go watch, he’s a talented speaker.