Today AOL/MapQuest launched "My Places" for MapQuest4Mobile. My Places launched online last year as "My MapQuest," offering personalization to PC users of the MapQuest site. It allows users to save maps and directions online and, now, access that content in mobile. It offers a much richer experience than standard "send to mobile" online maps functionality.
The renaming of the product captures its intent in a more intuitive way according to Christian Dwyer, Senior Vice President and General Manager, MapQuest. Dwyer and I spoke about a range of things associated with the mobile launch and evolution of the MapQuest site online.
There are two primary mobile products from MapQuest:
MapQuest4Mobile is a free application basically is available for BlackBerry devices today. It launched in September and Dwyer said that on a limited number of handsets he's seen 15% month over month growth. He added that MapQuest4Mobile would quickly expanding rapidly to other devices, including the iPhone and Android by Q2. Today MapQuest offers a special iPhone-optimized version of the site, accessible through mobile Safari.
Dwyer said that his team sees convergence going forward and that they're striving for a uniform experience whether on the PC or in mobile.
Dwyer and I also spoke about some of the developments at Bebo and what's now being called the AOL People network, which includes the AIM property. There are some pretty interesting scenarios -- provided they can be executed -- involving mobile, location and sharing/social.
After a long period of inertia, MapQuest is moving to upgrade and improve the user experience. My Places on MapQuest4Mobile is just one of a string of recent announcements that involves a new MapQuest PC homepage and MapQuest Local online, which is a compelling product that will probably make its way into mobile in the future.
Another development today, MapQuest Local launched a concert tracker widget that pushes local concert information to users based on default location.