Monday, April 21, 2008

Search for Mapped Web Pages in Google Maps

Google Maps added the map view available at Google Experimental Search. Google extracts the most important locations from web pages and lets you see the search results on a map. To restrict your search to web pages, you need to click on "Show search options" and select "Mapped web pages" from the new drop-down. Google displays the most relevant web pages that include locations from your current map view, but you can change the location in your query using the operators near or in: for example, [Beethoven near Germany] or [Beethoven in Europe].

This is an entire new way to search the web by changing the focus from general information to geographical information. You could use it to search for people, companies, organizations, events, traditional food or anything that could be connected to a location.

Web pages include a lot of useful information that isn't properly used by search engines: addresses, phone numbers, dates, opinions, characteristics, quotes, examples. All of these could be used to create connections between people and some important dates, between products and people's opinion about them, between concepts and examples. Web search engines could answer to complex queries like "the general opinion about iPhone in the first week after its launch" by using the information available on the web and cleverly extracting attributes and connections.