Barely one day in advance of the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show opening in Las Vegas this week, Magellan issued a press release about their next generation of GPS navigation devices, highlighting how they will come integrated with Google Maps to provide local search capabilities.
John Hanke, Director of Google Maps & Earth is quoted , saying, “We’re pleased to be partnering with Magellan to provide users with detailed, relevant local information while on the road. Magellan devices are powerful, interactive tools for navigation and discovery that serve as a cutting-edge platform for Google’s robust local search capabilities.”
Magellan’s Maestro Elite 5340+GPRS is expected to be available in March, 2008 at around $1299.
At the SMX Local & Mobile conference back in October, the CTO for Google Earth & Google Maps, Michael Jones, stated that in order to get new applications embedded in automobile consoles, it required about ten years of advanced planning due to the car industry’s very lengthy development cycle. This new deal between Google and Magellan would indicate that Google has found at least one way to bypass that lengthy planning cycle and the car industry itself in order to get search integrated closer with drivers.
Yellow pages providers and other mapping services have been pushing to mash up their content with GPS service providers for a while now. One big kid on the block, OnStar, partnered with MapQuest for these types of services back in June of 2007, for instance.
One important question that this news release doesn’t mention is how the Magellan devices are necessarily sending users’ geolocation information to Google in order for them to provide up the local search results. Since the Magellan service involves a subscription, one wonders whether the info Magellan sends to Google is restricted to only the geolocation associated with a generic ID number, or whether more personally-identifiable information is included.