Google Maps, Google Local launches for Britain and Ireland

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April 20, 2005

Google has extended its mapping and local searching services to the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

Google Maps first launched in North America on February 8 2005, and proved popular with its innovative user interface. Google Maps UK is the first mapping website to be offered by Google outside of North America.

Two weeks ago Google added satellite imagery to its maps after buying the Keyhole company. Google Maps UK currently does not offer a similar service.

The Google Local service offers users two search boxes - one for the search terms, and a second to specify a location, for example a postcode or 'near London'. This enables users to find business in or near a specific location.

Google also introduced their SMS service to the UK. This allows users to get information - both abstract, such as dictionary definitions and the answers to mathematical calculations - and geographical, such as driving directions or the address of nearby businesses.