Tyler Bell Interview
It’s an interview packed with softball questions, but Telematics Update’s interview with Dr. Tyler Bell, who heads the Yahoo Geo Technologies product team, reveals where Yahoo sees itself relative to other mapping providers. Short version: not as an also-ran by any stretch.
Tyler spends time talking about Yahoo’s GeoPlanet service, and suggests that this is both a major focus and a key differentiator:
We are not looking to simply duplicate a service that is already available. Yahoo! excels at geoinfomatics — how we use place to inform data and make it geographically relevant.
We want to capture the names of the world’s places as they are called by the world’s people: what are the colloquial terms in common use that aren’t in the atlas or formal gazeteer? What do the local residents call their area?
Our concern here is really named places and how they relate to each other.
He also points out what I think is why the large Web media companies are focusing on mapping and location technology: geographically targeted advertising (another nail in newspapers’ coffins):
In this economy, ad spends and budgets are decreasing, making the importance of getting the right products to the right people even more critical. Geo-relevance and geo-targeting are central to this effort, and we are looking at ways we can increase the efficacy of the geographic technologies so advertisers can be more successful, and users are not presented irrelevant offerings.