Google Local Search: is this how they will get into social media?

So far, Google’s attempts at social media have been something of a failure. Google Buzz annoyed many people and was seen as a breach of privacy. Latitude had the same problem. When it comes down to it, Google are a search company and not a social media company. However their focus on local search as led to an interesting new product. Hotpot shows recommendations on Google maps. Now they have added a function to see your friends local recommendations. This could be a good idea. We often value our friends recommendations so why not include them in their maps? It’s not a fully fleged social network a la Facebook, but nonetheless this could be their way in. It will be available in the web and Android versions of their maps. More info here.

Google Maps blamed for invasion!

A strange headline, but that is the claim being made by a Nicaraguan commander who strayed into Costa Rican territory (and replacing their flag with the Nicarguan one). They were using erm, Google maps and it showed that they were clearly still in Nicaragua. The country’s own military maps apparently show the correct border, but he chose to use the Google version (presumably on his phone) to navigate across the border. Costa Rica, who lack a standing army, were understandably alarmed. It’s no the first time that Google has run into problems with it’s borders. Cambodia recently took offence at Google Map’s border with Thailand, which led to a hasty redrawing of the maps. In future, expect Google to add a warning along the lines of ‘not to be used for military invasions’.