Google Maps Malaysia launched

I was at the Google Maps Malaysia launch at No Black Tie yesterday. All round, the Google chaps did a great job at organising a fun-filled event, which basically meant I got to talk to a lot of friends (it was a combination of Barcamp, open source hackers, entrepreneurs and some new media folk – I think I spotted a smattering of bloggers too), and also meet a few new ones ;-)

  • I guess the big deal about yesterday was the launch of http://maps.google.com.my. No longer will you be re-routed to the States, and have to specify, sometimes even up to postcode level. This kind of stuff has mostly been working for a while, but I guess its now official.
  • When asked when Street View will come to Malaysia, there was no comment on the timeline.
  • I saw KLue being mentioned, but there was no speaker from there. It seems like their event guide has been extracted via a mapplet, and placed on AppSpot, to give you a Events in Malaysia map “overlay”. Pretty cool, and can really be integrated well, into something else…
  • VirtualMalaysia spoke at the event, showing how they did some copy/paste of the mapplets, and how they built somewhat of an app out of it. I think Yoon Kit tweets it best:

    Virtual Malaysia copy and pasted the javascript for Tourism Msia. @arzumy asks “How much did u charge for it?”. Its our money eh? #mymap

  • Back to Mapplets: they’re mini-applications to run in Google Maps. You have data, it can be overlaid with Google Maps. This is worth playing with.
  • Not maps related, but the AJAX API’s Playground is a useful learning tool. You can talk to all the Google APIs, and it becomes easy – copy/paste and things happen.
  • When its finally time to write code, don’t redo, just reuse – check out gmaps-utility-library. Its all Apache licensed, so convenient to pop into your code.
  • Its worth noting that searching for properties to rent/buy should be easier now, considering iProperty.com.my now is also powered by Google Maps.
  • Are you a local business? Make sure you add yourself, in the local business centre.
  • There were a bunch of international sites using Maps, but the only one that caught my eye was Travellr. I’d have remembered more sites, had the Internet been working…
  • Highly amusing to see that there were people from the event management company, trying to show us how to use Google Maps Mobile. Poor girl had “fun” trying to demo this to Yoon Kit, Han, Ditesh, Kevin and I. Problem is, Yoon Kit, Han and I were already playing around with Maps on the mobile for a while, and had been sharing our locations with Latitude with each other for a while (for example, we knew that Han was on a highway about 16 minutes before he arrived for the event!)
  • Naturally, no Google event is complete without a t-shirt. We’re all now proud owners of a blue t-shirt, which has a marker that says “I am here.”

Now a bit about the location (which in my opinion, was a little crappy):

  • Kudos to Google for getting the valet service going at No Black Tie. I’ve never been there before, but my trusty GPS told me how to get there — and then I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be cool if I had a device, with just Google Maps, and a 3G connection, and some intelligent caching (for when I hit network blindspots), and a GPS chip on board? I’d prefer that any day over Malsingmaps on my Garmin…
  • WiFi was fail. Maxis Broadband 3G was fail. It seemed like Celcom was fail. The event location, near the stage, basically meant that you got no Internet. My phone (DiGi) still had EDGE though ;-)
  • No Black Tie, doesn’t seem to have the best management. I personally would never hold an event there. Why? Because the management is quite liberal at trying to embarrass the event organisers. I was going to get a beer, when I was told that we were over the RM2,000 quota, and I can’t get a beer. He shows me his chit, saying how much over the tab we are — I don’t need to know this, and this is something you should never tell a customer. Take it up with the organisers, and solve it amicably. But what took the cake? Another bloke asked for two beers and he shouted at the top of his voice, that the tab was dry. I mean this is Google we’re talking about — they’re not exactly a company short on money, and they splurge on things, all the time. I don’t represent Google, but I felt bad for them. For what its worth, in under 3 minutes and 25 seconds Google had extended the tab ;-)

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