Google Maps API and Tripadvisor


>>When we walked into the hotel it was very
beautiful, very…>>It more than lived up to the review it
got on Tripadvisor. Before booking…>>I would recommend this hotel.
The only drawback being we were on the third floor, directly above the hotel restaurant,
and our room smelled of food the whole time.>>STEPHEN KAUFER: Tripadvisor started, you
know, the idea probably came in 1999, when I was going on vacation.
I really wanted to know whether the place I was going was any good.
And, you know, my wife was the smart one in the family and said, “You know, you can do
a better job at building, literally, a better search engine for travel.” [pause]>>ANDY GELFOND: Tripadvisor is the largest
online community to find information about places you’d like to go.
If you’re planning a trip to any place, we have not only hundreds of hotels in that
place– and we can tell you availability– we also have thousands of reviews written
by people who have actually been there.>>CHRISTINE PETERSEN: One of the challenges
we face as an online travel site is how to display the incredible amount of data that
we have to the millions of users that come to the site every single month.>>KAUFER: So many people in the company were
fans of Google Maps already, because they were just, sort of, clearly the best.
When you looked out there, it was the fastest. They were the most detailed.
They had, even at the time, practically worldwide coverage.
Strategically, we knew we needed this sort of top-tier map implementation.>>GELFOND: Well, since the beginning we were
always a social site, and it’s been the last few years people that people have been hooking
up more with what people, you know, consider the Facebook apps.>>PETERSEN: Local Picks is a restaurant application,
which allows you to go in and rate restaurants. In fact, you can rate 15 of them in 60 seconds.
And you can also sort, and you can see your friends’ favorites, the communities’ favorites.
We had 1.5 million restaurant ratings and reviews in four months, which is four times
as many as we received in seven years with having restaurants on Tripadvisor.>>KAUFER: The most popular application we
have on the social networks is called “Cities I Visited.”
The whole focus is around a map.>>TONY SCELFO: Working with social networks
in Google Maps is great, you know. It’s very easy to port.
The way we’ve built “Cities I Visited” is we sort of wrapped the Google Maps core functionality–
we’ve extended it, and just bringing into new platforms is very, very easy.>>GELFOND: So our first app with Google Maps
went out, and we went from zero to about five million downloads in a matter of a couple
of months. The second app went from zero to a couple
of million downloads, also in a few months.>>SCELFO: When Google Maps A.P.I. releases
its new features, it’s actually really nice because backwards compatibility hasn’t been
an issue for us. Taking advantage of new features has always
been easy. It’s documented.
There’s good examples. Y:ou can see what to use and how to use it.>>PETERSEN: Four years ago, we were a couple
of dozen people in the company building what was to become this incredible site that we
are today, with around 30 million users and 15 million reviews and opinions.
So, by partnering with Google Maps it’s just allowed us to move that much more quickly,
that we just simply couldn’t do on our own.>>KAUFER: Google Maps is just one of the
best examples of how to take a product, make it really easy for a developer– or a whole
company like ours– to pull it in, not needing back and forth phone calls with all the support
developers, and the stuff that so many other products kind of need to be successful.
And it was up live on the site, actually in production, in a couple of weeks.
You can’t really, as C.E.O., look for anything better or simpler than that.

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