Nov 6th, 2013

Google Maps has dominated the mobile navigation landscape since smartphones moved tot he forefront of the tech industry. But there’s always room for improvement and that’s why Google acquired Waze for $1.3 billion several months ago. Although their real-time traffic technology has already made its way to Google’s mobile maps products, we’re now seeing some of the benefits in the new Google Maps for Desktop.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 8.41.35 PM

With Google Maps updates came the return of Pegman, and he came dressed for the occasion, suiting up in 180+ different outfits including several with Android themes.

pegman-googlers pegman-parachuter pegman-zombie  pegman-android Pegman-Rock

The Google Maps Google+ account posted them throughout the day, taking suggestions with the #PegmanLive hashtag. That live participation has now ended, but we have to admit it was pretty fun to follow. Hopefully Google will allow you to select your own favorite Pegman for use with the Maps product. (Which one would you select?)

While the Pegman Android tie in was fun, Google Maps included some real updates that improve the user experience. Streetview, Photosphere, and other features have turned Google Maps into a much more multimedia-rich tour guide type of experience. The interface takes a bit of getting used to – I’m still flubbing up navigation from my familiarity with the old Google Maps – but after getting over the learning curve, the product is far superior.

Google has become a trailblazer with mapping and navigation tech and I firmly believe they’re just getting started. The potential for synergy across all their products is huge, especially when factoring in the relative youth of smart automotive tech.

The next few years should be huge for travel tech and it appears Pegman’s warddrobe is ready for the long haul.