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Cover Story MILLIONS BILLIONS The Google Geo Mantra Google is retiring its geo-products — Google Earth Enterprise, Google Maps Engine and Google Maps Coordinate. But why did Google make this move? Who will be affected and what are the options available for its customers? Geospatial World explores... O n February 8, 2015, Google Maps turned 10! On that day, it promised to “navigate uncharted territory, together with its users, in the next 10 years in pursuit of the perfect map”. Only a few days before, enterprise users who anticipated some wonder- ful product updates on this occasion, realised that they had to actually chart out unanticipated courses moving forward. From its launch in 2005, to the acquisition of Skybox Imaging in August 2014, to its more recent content update with 45-degree imagery of about 120 cities across the world — it looked as though Google with its map products was on the perfect road of product improvisation until an email an- nouncing its deprecation in January 2016 landed in the mail boxes of its users. The Maps Business Unit of Google, which was provid- ing consumers and businesses focussed mapping services, FACT FILES 10 years of Google Maps 18 / Geospatial World / March 2015 is moving forward with a focused approach with respect to enterprise users. As part of this, for reasons clearly un- known to the public, Google is retiring its geo-products — Google Earth Enterprise, Google Maps Engine and Google Maps Coordinate. Table 1 gives the list of geo products from Google that are set for execution. Why did Google make this move? Industry analysts opine there could be multiple reasons for the move. According to a Google employee (who did not want to be quoted), one of the challenges was related to the sales and project turn-around times of products like Google Earth Enterprise. According to the official, quarterly revenues matter to Google, as they do for any listed com- pany, and it does not find significant business returns from licence sales vis-a-vis the significant ground staff required for marketing and business development efforts worldwide. So, Google is happy serving enterprises which are interested in using Google Maps technology through a pay-as-you-go API based Cloud model. Google’s email to its customers also confirms this point. Google sees more sense in scaling up its geo business on API-based business model. The numbers from Google provide clear evidence to this, whose more than one million active sites and apps reach one billion unique visitors every week — nearly half the unique visitors on the entire Internet. In fact, according to Programmable Web, Google Maps API continues to be #1 mapping API with respect to factors such as popularity, potential, documentation, ease of use and functionality. 1 mn active sites and apps