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Google Maps 15th Anniversary

Google Maps is used by more than one billion people every month around the world and connects people to businesses more than nine billion times

Image by petterijokela from Pixabay

15 years ago, Google introduced to the world Google Maps to help everyone find their way around, discover new experiences, and get things done. 

Google Maps has come a long way since then, with new features constantly introduced to improve the experience and help people in big and small ways. Today, Google Maps is used by more than one billion people every month around the world. And every month, Google Maps connects people to businesses more than nine billion times, including more than one billion phone calls and three billion requests for directions.

Before we celebrate the 15th anniversary of Google Maps on 8 February 2020, take a trip down memory lane to see how much ground, Maps has covered over the years, both in Singapore and worldwide.

Google Maps Milestones: 2005 – 2020

2005

February 8: Google Maps was first launched on desktop, helping users search for nearby businesses and find their way from Point A to B! Today, Google Maps is used by more than one billion people every month around the world.

28 June: Introduction of Google Earth, which uses satellite imagery to show you places all over the planet in 3D. Today, we have more than 36 million square miles of high definition satellite images from third party providers, covering more than 98% of the entire population. 

2007

May 29: Street View is born, giving people 360-degree scenes of street-level imagery. To help capture imagery in some hard to reach places, we’ve used everything from snowmobiles, underwater rigs, boats, sheep, camels, and even scout troops. In total, we’ve captured more than 10 million miles of imagery on Street View, a distance that could circle the globe more than 400 times. 

November 28: Google Maps for Mobile launched, providing maps and driving directions to people on the go, much to the delight of many Blackberry and Palm devices users. Our first Android app joined the party in September 2008, along with our iOS app in December 2012.

2008

June 23: Unveiled Google Map Maker, which lets users contribute to and edit Maps data for regions around the world. Now, every day, our users make more than 20 million contributions — like reviews, star ratings, and more — to places on Google Maps and Search. Much of this work is led by our active community of 120 million Local Guides.

Google Maps is made available in Singapore!

2009

September 24: Introduced Place Pages within Maps, so you could find information about local businesses, landmarks and neighborhoods. Today, businesses manage their presence on Maps using Google My Business and, which also enables potential customers to easily get in touch via phone, directions, messaging, bookings, and more. 

October 28: Navigation comes to Google Maps, so you could stop relying on a list of driving directions and get live turn-by-turn navigation. Today, an average of over 1 billion kilometers driven every day using Google Maps.

November 29:  Google worked with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to make Singapore the first country in the world to have both public transport and real-time traffic information made available on Google Maps. This allows commuters and motorists to check all of their land transport options – either by car or public transit – and make an informed decision on the quickest, most convenient route and method to reach their destinations.

2013

February 19: Indoor Maps is launched in Singapore, helping users find their way when taking a stroll within heartland malls such as Tiong Bahru Plaza, or find their way inside shopping malls like ION Orchard. 

2014

May 6: First added the ability to browse info about restaurants, bars and hotels by their opening hours, ratings, price, and more to help you find just what you’re looking for. Now, you can discover the best things to do and places to go right in the Explore tab. Today, you can find business information, ratings, reviews and more for about 200 million businesses and places around the world. 

2015

November 10:Launched offline maps, so even without connectivity, users can still get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places.

2016

October 19: Worked with the Land Transport Authority to introduce Indoor Maps for five MRT stations: Orchard, Raffles Place, City Hall, Promenade and Esplanade considering their size and complexity to navigate. With indoor maps for 115 venues in Singapore, we hope to help more people find the fastest way to the places that interest them – be it the food court or the nearest restroom – all while on the go.

2017

April 27: Google added 30 new Special Collections of Singapore on Street View, allowing users from Singapore and around the world to explore expedition routes along Coney Island Park or Punggol Waterway Park and preview top tourist attractions such as Resorts World Sentosa and Universal Studios Singapore.

Google Singapore also teamed up with JustRunLah!, a group of running enthusiasts to map over 30 running routes along parks and nature spaces, covering more than 400 km in Singapore on Street View. From Botanic Gardens to Mount Faber Park and to MacRitchie Reservoir, the group donned the Google’s Street View trekker equipped with special cameras to take photographs of various running trails popular among Singaporeans.

2018

July 18: Google launched Motorbike Modein APAC including Singapore, to help motorcycle users navigate traffic across the island. This is done by delivering more accurate travel times based on machine learning models that reflect motorbike speeds, avoid restricted roads where motorbikes are not allowed to travel and providing easy-to-memorize routes, using landmarks along the way.

October 1: Vehicle occupancy launched in Singapore, helping people to plan their commute on public transport in Singapore. With updates like “many empty seats” or “standing room only”, this enables transit riders to see how crowded their upcoming vehicle is so they know if they should get on the bus or train, or wait for another one.

October 24: More accurate and up-to-date 360-degree Street View imagery of Singapore is live on Google Maps, making the country the first in Southeast Asia to have a Street View refresh. The new imagery was made possible by new, higher quality cameras used on its fleet of Street View cars.

2019

February 11: Launched Live View, which uses augmented reality to help you understand which way to walk, with arrows and directions clearly overlaid on your view of the world.

March 15: Introduced “wheelchair accessible” routes in transit navigation to make getting around easier for those with mobility needs. Google Maps has accessibility info, like wheelchair friendly entrances and restrooms, for more than 50 million places around the world.

July 30: Google and the National Heritage Board (NHB), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Federation of Merchants’ Associations (FMAS) announced a joint initiative to document 114 of Singapore’s beloved hawker centres on Google Maps using Street View to make them discoverable to anyone curious about our hawker centres or looking for their favourite hawker stalls. This marks the first time Google is mapping hawker centers globally.

November 13: New Translator feature added to Google Maps that enables your phone to speak out a place’s name and address in the local lingo. Simply tap the new speaker button next to the place name or address, and Google Maps will say it out loud, making your next trip that much simpler. And when you want to have a deeper conversation, Google Maps will quickly link you to the Google Translate app. The next time you travel to a foreign country – Tokyo Olympics maybe? – you’ll see the new speaker icon next to the place’s name and address so you can get a real-time translation.

2020

February 6: New Google Maps icon to celebrate Google Maps’ 15th anniversary! To commemorate this locally, we have made available 360 degree Street View imagery of 114 hawker centres and added more than 3,000 business listings for hawker stalls on Google Maps and Street View to make it more helpful for Singaporeans and tourists visiting the country. We’re halfway through and the goal is to eventually get all 6,000 hawker stalls online over the next few weeks.

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