Google touts mobile maps as Facebook launches Places


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Google is going places, too.

That was the message behind a blog post from Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra on Thursday in which the Internet giant said more than 100 million people a month are using its mobile mapping products to find friends and places.

The rise of Facebook, the world’s most popular social networking site, clearly has Google’s attention. Google used to rule online advertising, by selling relevant ads next to its search results. But it now faces what could be a major challenge from Facebook as people rely more on their friends to steer them to products and services on the Web.


Competition between the two companies sharpened this week when Facebook rolled out a location service that could eventually rake in local business dollars. Advertisers are eager to target mobile-device users as they navigate the world.

With the new Facebook Places feature, users can share their whereabouts with friends. And businesses can create a Place page to advertise their products to Facebook users.

That’s awfully similar to Google Places, which launched last September and offers Web pages for businesses to give locations, images and reviews. And Twitter, the microblogging service, has a product called Twitter Places that lets users broadcast their location to followers.

-- Jessica Guynn