TomTom, Garmin, Magellan move over ... Google is about to revolutionize yet another industry. Bill Slawski posted a really interesting blog post (New Reason to Submit Businesses to Google Maps: Google Navigator and Personal Information Management Integration) this week talking about a new patent filed by Google, in which Google Navigator is expected to add some very interesting twists to mobile GPS sytems.

Points of Similarity:
Some of the interesting aspects of Google Navigator are:
Google Navigator has most of the routine functionality of in-car GPS systems:

    1. its speech enabled
    2. offers real-time traffic information
    3. includes map coverage of the world
    4. permits you to search for and navigate to specific businesses or addresses

Points of Differentiation:
But in true Google fashion; its also added/adding a few more features that will likely eventually lead to it displacing the incumbant in-car GPS products:

    1. Google street view ... see and visualize images from actual (turns, storefronts, etc) locations before having to take action at those locations.
    Courtesy Google

    2. Google Satellite View - the ability to switch to Google Satellite view to see things from a different perspective, based on actual images.

    3. Locations to Satisfy Items From Task Lists - the possible incorporation of locations along the route, that can satisfy 'to do's' from your 'task list'. So for example, if your task list includes mailing a letter, getting dry cleaning done, and shopping for a birthday gift for your niece, according to Bill, Google Navigator may incorporate icons for nearby post offices, dry cleaning shops, and shopping centers. Brilliant!

    4. Augmented Reality - given that GPS systems themselves are really a form of augmented reality, I'll suggest that Google will take this one step further, and will possibly overlay information such as:

  • friends and social network reviews of each dry cleaner, post office, and children's toy store along the route
  • possibly even recommend dry cleaners, post offices, and children's toy stores based on a combination of proximity and opinions of those in your social network.
  • Though a working example could not be found, this video gives an indication of augmented reality in its most simple form.

    5. Incorporation of Google Search - finally, Google Navigator will likely provide powerful search functionality to find businesses 'nearby' your route or destination. Google already has a speech enabled search engine in 1-800-Goog-411., which would be easy enough to adapt.

    All in all, its seems as though Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan are in Google's cross hairs, and there is little they can do about it. Google can once again leverage its incredible strengths, and make it virtually impossible for incumbant companies to survive.

    It begs the question; do you see this as a positive or negative? Is Google becoming too big and powerful, or are such changes welcome?

    Regardless of our perspective, businesses with brick and mortar locations MUST submit to Google Maps ... as Google just upped the ante.