Red Herring: Online Maps and Local Advertising

Red Herring:

While not as monomaniacal as the cartographers in Mr. Borges’ fictional empire, the mapmakers busy at work at search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN place a very high value on maps. And their designs don’t lack ambition. In order to tap a local advertising market that the Kelsey Group estimates will reach $124 billion in the United States alone by the end of the decade, Google and its rivals want maps on the web that cover every corner of the country. … Matt Booth, an analyst with the Kelsey Group, says that maps are the shock troops in a campaign to win advertising dollars from the local market. “Mapping is the forefront of a local strategy,” he says.

(Being a Borges nut, I will explain the reference: it refers to a single-paragraph story, “On Exactitude in Science,” from The Maker [1960]; it’s on page 325 of this edition. The story describes a map so vast it’s the same size as the territory being mapped.)