I looked at the updated Google Maps app for iPad for the first time this morning. It’s different in a number of ways from the PC and smartphone experiences.
As a general matter one of the changes in the new Google Maps for PC (beyond the UI) is that it offers social and expert “recommendations.”
This is part of a larger trend toward “local discovery” or “local recommendations” that has been made possible by social data and mobile. Foursquare has been on the “vanguard” of this effort but Yelp recently introduced local recommendations and Facebook has them as well (via the social graph) via its app.
These days, all the social data (check-ins, ratings, etc.) can be used in conjunction with the social graph to produce a set of category based recommendations for individuals. Google’s iPad app goes somewhat farther in this direction than the PC site or its smartphone apps.
Google is enticing people to sign in: “Tired of typing? Get suggestions from your search history and Google contacts.”
Signing in provides Google with access to social data and personal history to use as the basis of its recommendations. It also give Google cross-platform visibility on user behavior.
As I mentioned more companies in local are using the wealth of data now available to offer “discovery” or “recommendations” as a complement to “search.” Google Now is another exemplar of a move from “pull” to “push.”
But for Google the ultimate category is “personalization.” Everything rolls up into that concept.