Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Google Maps Korea

Google is becoming serious in approaching the Korean market and expects mapping services to be an integral part of its local business plans, company executives said.

In a news conference in Seoul, Google Korea ( announced the release of the local version of ``Google Maps,'' a free location service based on interactive Web maps and photographic imagery, which company officials hope will help drive more traffic to its search engine.

The debut of the mapping service had been delayed due to Korean export restrictions on mapping data. The problem was solved after Google eventually agreed to operate the services on a Korean server.

The company has created an open API (application programming interface) for the mapping service to allow third-party developers and corporate clients to create and share applications.

Companies like Samsung Everland, which plans to use Google Maps to strengthen its ``BeMeal'' restaurant search services; REVU (, a consumer review site; and Korea Railroad are already developing future services by using the API.

Google is also planning to introduce ``Street View,'' a related product that allows viewers a panoramic, ground-level view of the search area.

Google Maps is likely to face tough competition in Korea, with local Internet companies rushing to roll out similar services with better quality.

Daum ( and Paran ( are the most ambitious, as they are preparing mapping services with image resolutions of 50 centimeters per pixel, better than the Korean version of Google Maps that range between 50 centimeters to 1 meter per pixel.



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