Readers of my blog should know by now that I stand by the wiki, a kind of freely-editable website. Google got into the wiki business, sort of, when they acquired Jot (not Jott; that’s something else) and developed it — after many months — into Google Sites. Which is a wiki-that’s-not-a-wiki.
Well, recently Google Maps got some updates that make it also a wiki-that’s-not-a-wiki. Users from the United States, New Zealand, and Australia can now add, edit, and delete places in Google Maps. (That Google Operating System post has tons of screenshots, so just head over there to see them if you’re interested. It saves me the time it would take to make my own. 😀 )
The edit function has been around for a while, but was limited to placemark location. Now the details can be edited as well, including address, name, and all the works.
In addition, places can now be added and removed, though removals require Google’s approval.
So what’s with all this community-based stuff? I have a feeling Google is capitalizing on the same forces that helped build sites like Wikipedia. That is, the wisdom of the crowds. Most people jump at the chance to add a missing entry to a database they use; it makes them more likely to use that resource if others can add missing information.
I already use Google Maps over MapQuest or Windows Live Local (I think that’s what Microsoft calls it now). All these new things just keep me coming back. One of these days I’ll have to try adding a missing listing just to see how it works. That just means I have to find one.