If you've been wondering where Google is placing its marker for the future then Google's head of mobile and geolocation Marissa Mayer made it clear that the future is 'here'.
"The mobile phone acts as a cursor to connect the digital and physical,” Mayer said as she ran through some of Google’s location and mobile products and strategies. The new Maps uses vectors to render the map image because it takes up 1/100 of the size of the old tile system. They can be cached and can include 3D representations of buildings.
Next she showed the new Google Maps Navigation for Android which looks for routes around traffic jams. The idea being that the new update will lay the groundwork for predictive navigation apps in the future
She also shared data on a few of Google’s applications:
40% of all Google Maps usage is on mobile, and Google Maps for Mobile has 150 million users. The app’s turn-by-turn navigation feature processes 35 million miles per day. Also, the newly added route around traffic feature is saving users two years of time every day, which equates to a potential $250,000 in fuel savings per year.
Mayer looked ot the future mentioning augmented reality such as Layar "a digital layer on top of reality". But she says we can go further than that. "Contextual discovery is taking your location and a little context"
If you had a photo of a bird, how would you convey that bird to a search engine, other than typing something like "bird with a white head and black body"? In the future, you'll be able to use something like Google Goggles to just upload that snapshot as your query.
I pulled together some of the references and conversation from Twitter using Storify.