December 14, 2005

Australian connection to Google maps grows stronger

Posted in Articles at 7:18 pm by siddey

Today the LBS news drought has been broken within Australia. The Australian media reports that Google is increasing headcount at it local headquarters in Sydney, Australia. Google are reportedly hiring to increase work on the Google Maps technology which primarily originated (including the innovative Ajax interface) from Silicon Valley based, Australian firm Where2 LLC, acquired by Google in 2004.

Lars Rasmussen, founder of Where2 LLC, gave a keynote presentation in Sydney earlier this year, for the 5th International Conference on Web Engineering. Here is a brief introduction to Lars as can be found on the conference website. Rasmussen also gave an interview to ZDNET earlier in the year to talk about his past and future.

It’s certainly positive to see a continued investment in Australian software development talent. Unfortunately, however, there is no mention as to whether this investment will reach the dream of including local Australian map data with Google Maps.

Map data is hard to come by within Australia, due to the tight grip held on the limited market (by that I mean expensive, with high per-unit royalty requirements that almost kill the appeal for consumer focused applications) by Telstra and the quasi-Government body PSMA. Given Telstra’s recent attack at Google’s plans for world domination, it’s more likely that if we’re ever going to see a player such as Google enter the location based service market in Australia, it will be in partnership with PSMA.

I doubt anyone can go it alone.

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