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Google Maps, Keyhole post

via:博客园     time:2018/9/30 21:24:33     readed:752


Before being purchased by Google, EarthViewer's NV customized version. Photo source: Keyhole

Yu Sheng

This article undertakes "Keyhole, Google MapsIf you haven't read that, please welcome to make up classes first.


Keyhole has always been

At that time, the executive layer of Google was holding a product review meeting together, when the theme was the newly acquired Picasa. Sergei.

Brin put the projector on his notebook, and he was looking at EarthViewer. A lot of people saw EarthViewer, for the first time, but they were attracted by the software and wanted Brin to enter his address.

Brin stopped, and without even thinking about the future of business, he simply said:

Google's price for Keyhole is 30 million dollars. But that's not the point. John's main concern is, Google has no map business before. What can it do with Keyhole? He is also worried about his dream of building a high-resolution 3D model of the entire planet. Is there any chance of it coming true? So Google organized a special meeting.

The assurances of the founder and CEO were not assured, and in order to be sincere enough to finalize the acquisition, IPO's Google had not even been completed at the time.

The next day John made a difficult call to Menlo Ventures:

First entry Google

Because of John Hanke's insistence, there's no way to do anything about Keyhole's team.

Bill Kilday, author of Never Lost Again, also took part in the interview with Bret Taylor., a former Google employee and product manager At the end of the interview, Bret asked him:

Bill didn't think much at first, but John Hanke was alerted when she heard about it:

After Keyhole joined Google, the work was split into two parts. Part of it is the reserve, the previous EarthViewer, where the original sales and services should be retained, and part of it is the new job of developing Google Maps, a Web-based, fully free map product.

According to Google's requirements, Keyhole should add a Powered by Google logo to EarthViewer after the acquisition. The common Google logo includes five different colored letters o, but Bill wants to change the blue one to Earth to highlight Keyhole's features. Normally, it's easy for Keyhole's own webmaster to do it, but at Google, even such minor changes must be made by a person who nods, Marissa Mayer.

Today, you know Marissa Mayer, very well, and she's the most famous one in later reports.


Marrisa Mayer source: Wikipedia

In order to make a small change to the Google logo, Bill sent several emails and made several calls in the past few weeks without receiving a response from Mei Sister. Everything else is done, but everyone says

After waiting patiently for 45 minutes, Bill finally had a chance to spend one minute introducing the changes he wanted to make. Mei Sister's comment is only one sentence:

Who's the Lord's ups and downs

Keyhole's team also found that, previously thought,

Google has already acquired a company called Where2 Tech, the main developer of which is Denmark's two brothers: Jens Rasmussen and Lars Rasmussen. The brothers have been working hard to start a business, but financing is never going well. After 2001, the bubble burst at Where2 Tech, and it's almost over. They were talking to Sequoia Capital, but after Yahoo updated the Yahoo map and opened the Yahoo yellow page and map, Sequoia retreated. However, the sequoias brought them to know Google's Larry.


Lars Rasmussen. Source: Recode

Page was interested in the team, but also asked them that the. Where2 product, like all map products at the time, was a desktop client. But Page thinks the Web is the way forward. Maps should run in browsers and get back-end data via the Internet. At the time, there was a team inside Google that was working on this.

Lars and Jens were already on the brink of bankruptcy, and they had moved their offices from the United States to Australia because of visa problems, leaving only four members on the team. After talking to Page, they found that changing the technology and getting into Google's arms was an irresistible choice. They worked around the clock for three weeks, pulled out a Web map and got tickets to join Google.

Compared to Keyhole, the Where2 team has built up front-end technology, but they don't have their own map data. So after the merger, the Keyhole team will also need to be divided into two groups, maintaining the original business of Keyhole along the way, merging with the existing map team of Google, and importing data from Keyhole into Google, and Google.

It seems that Google Maps is a brand new product for Keyhole and Where2 Tech, and it has something to do with their previous work. So who on earth is going to ship? Who will lead the whole team?

Before Where2 Tech was reported to Bret Taylor, Bret is the love of sister Mei. Whether Bret or Mei Jie, they have a lot of ideas on the map business, but also full of expectations for the future. But no matter who will lead, the main force of this team is Keyhole. Keyhole's people, unlike Google, aren't all computer graduates from prestigious schools, and aren't all brilliant, but Keyhole's teamwork can't be ignored.

In the end, Google came up with a solution: John's title is

The relationship is clear, but the work relationship is not so simple. Google assigned Keyhole's team a large office in Building 41, where Keyhole's original 29 people, together with four people from Where2 Tech who had mapped before Google, worked together. The four guys who had adapted themselves to their jobs now had to get up and make room for 29 new guys, and that was a fantastic feeling. What's more, nobody knows or explains how to divide and cooperate with each other. The eventual situation is still somewhat bizarre, with Bret Talyor sitting at the end of the table, the four men in Where2. Keyhole's new 29 people are led by John. He is sitting on the other side of the table.


Building 41, Google headquarters, mountain view. Source: Thomas Hawk@Flickr (Map Team is no longer working here, according to Google friends, and Building 41 has been redecorated several times).

After TGIF, Dec. 7, 2004 (TGIF is a regular Google weekend event where God it's Friday, employees can gather to relax), an early Google executive (not named in the book) called Bill to the balcony. This senior figure knows Bill

You have to be very careful with that woman. Don't be fooled by her. If John Hanke is not careful enough, if he doesn't leave much care, you will be taken away by her.

From the beginning to the end, the senior official did not say

Vision and pattern

Keyhole team joined Google, of course, there are many new experiences that impressed them.

On the first day of joining Google, they are free to go to the company's accessories station and pick out the IT devices they want. If you want to have access to the office network from home, you can ask IT support to provide a dedicated router, and Google will pay for home access. In addition, all the campus buses provided by Google have their own Wi-Fi.

After Keyhole's team joined, Google organized a meeting to let everyone know what to say, and Brin and Page joined in. But this meeting is more like asking brin and page to ask questions.

Do you have a large percentage of data that reaches the meter level resolution?

Where does the data source come from?

What's the matter with satellites?

Are these satellites synchronous earth satellites?

How big is the photosensitive element?

How big is each photo file?

How fast is the satellite flying?

How often can we update the satellite photos?

Another concern for Brin is:

Although Keyhole's people had been working on it before, they never thought about it. So, Michael Jones, the engineer in charge of storage, replied, "it takes about 1 PB."

After that, brin and page left.

A few months later, on the way to Google Maps, Keyhole's people gave Brin and Page a showcase. The reaction of the two is the same. What they want is a much larger goal.

As a result, the budget for the purchase of maps rose from $3 million to $80 million.


As mentioned earlier, Where2 joined Google, earlier than Keyhole but has never had a final outcome. Compared with Keyhole, Where2 is better at front-end work. For example, today's maps are labeled by pin icons by default, which is proposed by Where2's Jens, but not by the red pentagram. Jens, who did not copy the Yahoo map. The pin can indicate the position accurately without causing the blocking. Jens to pay particular attention to detail, and if you look closely at the Google map, the shadow of the pin can overlap, and the overlapped parts are darker in color.

The problem with Where2 is that they haven't had enough map data. For Where2 in 2004, they

Keyhole's map backstage has been their best engineer, Chikai, who maintains Chikai betting with Where2's engineers that it will take more than a week to import all the Keyhole data. But Where2's people took less than 24 hours to fix it.

In addition to Where2 and Keyhole,Google, there's a third force for Google Maps, which is the Dan Egnor team's geo-search. Dan Egnor was the winner of the 2002 Google programming contest, and his work is a crawler, crawling around with address information. Structure according to geographical structure. And then Dan Egnor joined Google, and created a project called "Search by Location (." and the project was renamed Google Local, and belonged to Mei Sister.

Before Google Search by Location was born, the maintenance of address databases was cumbersome, relying on specialized companies to collect, identify, mark, and enter. Even if a company indicates on its website that its address is

Why does Google do this project? In around 2002, Google found that about a quarter of all search requests were location-related. That being the case, why do we need to work harder to search for geographic information better? The parsing and structuring of information is the first step. How to construct a geographic database and make the structured information directly related to geographical location is the next step. In this sense, Keyhole and Where2 Tech are almost necessarily seen by Google.

The experience with Google Search by Location,Google Maps far exceeds Keyhole's own EarthViewer, and Yahoo and MapQuest., which also provide Web mapping services. Like an address query.

Unfortunately, Search by Location is of little value in the absence of map matching. According to Taylor, there was a rare visit throughout the day. But with the Google Maps, the power of Search by Location broke out. As soon as Google Maps was born, the experience of using them far outweighed Yahoo Maps and MapQuest, although they appeared earlier.



EarthViewer and Keyhole 2 Pro (Professional Edition) operation interface, please pay attention to the search bar in the lower right corner. Photo source: Keyhole

So Google Maps consists of three teams: Keyhole for John, Where2 for Bret and Google Local for Mei. Mei Jie wants John to report to him, and John is unwilling to do so, so the relationship between the two is relatively intense. In fact, the tension ran through Keyhole's team at Google, and eventually they chose to leave because of Mei.

However, everyone has maintained enough professional accomplishment, tension and tension, the project is still in full swing. From the acquisition of Keyhole in October 2004 to the release of Google Maps in February 2005, it is absolutely impossible to do this without sufficient efficiency in four months.


According to the plan, Google Maps should be released at 9 a.m. on February 8, 2005. Whether it can succeed or not is uncertain. After all, no one had ever made maps on the Internet, and only maps of the United States were available at that time.

To be on the safe side of February 7 at 6: 50 P. m., engineers have posted the Google Maps online and pointed the maps.google.com to the new service. At the time, the Google service was available on time, so that it could be released at 7 o'clock that night. Although no message has been published at this time, if the user enters the maps.google.com, can be used normally. This time, engineers are counting on

The new Google Maps has already been discussed on 7: 45 Slashdot on the morning of February 8, when Google fans stumbled upon the domain name and went to Slashdot. So the traffic started to rise, which made the back-end engineers nervous.

Fortunately, there was no tragedy, and Google Maps was a great success. Users shouted that they had never seen anything so cool. People were keen on exploring new things on maps. On the first day of its launch, Google Maps gained 10 million PVs, accounting for a significant portion of the traffic on Google's entire site.


The first edition of Google Maps is only the United States and adjacent Canada, Mexico, and other places are oceans. Source: Google

But complaints also follow. Google Maps originally provided only maps of the United States, and other business leaders sought out Google Maps teams to provide map services in their own countries. They even aggressively sought information from local map providers to get the Google Maps team in touch so that they could see the country in Google Maps as soon as possible.

For Google Maps's team, the new countries will bring commercial benefits, but there are no technical challenges. They just need to import the corresponding country data. July 2005, Japan Map online in August 2005. The map of England is online, then Ireland, France

For Google Maps's server-side developers, the next step is to provide Google Maps with satellite maps that users can view in a mixed way. The first version of Google Maps did not provide satellite maps in time for the release cycle. Now engineers are adding it. Because the bosses had asked to buy it.

Finally, on April 4, 2005, Google Maps, which provides a satellite map viewing model, was released under the name of Google Maps with Satellite. Although Sister Mae and John had different ideas about the name, Sister Mae chose to let John decide, and the name Satellite did fit most people's expectations.

A week later, Ms. Mei sent an e-mail to Google employees announcing that Google Maps was another big success after Gmail. She praised Chikai in particular, invited him to her office and gave him a special prize. No one else knows what this award is.

Another month later, Mei sent another email to Google staff, announcing that because of the popularity of Google Maps, the map service Google Maps team would be merged with the Google Local team that provided local search. The new team's name was

But as you all know, the real problem is not the name. The real problem is that Mei never gave up the idea of operating Google Maps as a whole. Previously, Wayne Rosing, Google's senior vice president of engineering, was a supporter of Keyhole, so Ms. Mei had some concerns. But in 2005, Rosing had already left, and Keyhole had no backing. Is it Google Maps or Google Local? John must face this battle.

John told his companions:

Egg: Zipdash

Earlier, Mark Crady had invested thousands of dollars on his own and was licensed to use taxi traffic data in the San Francisco Bay Area. Using their Zipdash program on the phone, you can see traffic estimates from the system, and user behavior data is fed back to the server to help improve the estimates.

Many people know that Google paid $1 billion in 2013 for Waze.Zipdash, which provides point-to-point traffic data, to do much the same thing as Waze, but Zipdash was much earlier than that. Zipdash bought Zipdash for just $2 million in 2004.

There is an example of how much Zipdash has

How many users are there in Zipdash now?

200 to 300.

So, the unit is thousand?

Thousand? We are not as big as Google.


The early version of the mobile version of Google Maps. Source: Google

This is it.

P.S. doesn't feel finished, right? It is not finished. It has just started. Compared to today's maps, it's clear that the newly released Google Maps are still a lot worse than today's maps, and almost all of these features have stories to tell.

I was going to finish the story of Google Maps with an article, but I couldn't really write it: Keyhole's problems became more complex and it took a lot more time to write. What's more, Keyhole's story is all Keyhole's people say, and Google Maps reports a lot more, which provides a variety of three-dimensional perspectives, but I also spend a lot of effort to verify. The above story is a synthesis of Never Lost Again and several reports, and I also looked up screenshots of the product at the time, which are attached to the article.

If you are interested in this story, please do not hesitate to appreciate it, encourage me to continue writing.

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