MyMaps Dashes Startup Dreams

Last week, Google launched its latest feature, Google MyMaps. This handy upgrade of its already useful Map feature allows anyone with a Google account to create maps that are personal to him or her. The feature lets its creator add pictures, YouTube videos, and text to explain where the map is taking you. You can also draw lines and make shapes around your destinations.

I used the feature to map out art gallery openings in Chelsea that I attended last night. It allowed me to go seamlessly from one gallery to another without the hassle of figuring out where they were (even if they are all in a five block radius). My Google MyMap led me to an opening at the bitforms gallery. The exhibit featured installations and artwork by Mark Napier. Napier is an anomaly in the art world — he produces Internet art using various software programs an is actually featured in galleries. The main attraction of the exhibit was a video installation he did that made the Empire State Building appear to be melting and reshaping in a series of images.

While the MyMaps idea isn’t new, it could have a significant impact on a slew of startups that are already out there, like Platial and Frappr. These startups already use the Google and Yahoo map functions as a platform for their own MyMaps services. Now these companies will be competing against the Internet giant. I don’t see them stacking up, do you?