Roamz, a local search startup for web and mobile, is today showing off one of the first implementations of the new Google Maps iOS SDK in its new iPad app, due out after the holidays. The Maps iOS SDK, which was released at the time of the Google Maps iOS app launch earlier this month, allows mobile developers who use maps inside their apps to use Google Maps instead of Apple’s implementation.
The SDK also includes support for both 2D and 3D views, so users can tilt and rotate the map using gestures inside the app. And Roamz has put these 3D maps to clever use. The company, which sources real-time posts from Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram to help users find nearby businesses and other places of interest, is using the Google Maps 3D angle and is then layering the social content on top of the buildings.
“Where we want to get to is a ‘Street View’ for social,” explains Roamz’ founder Jonathan Barouch.”You’re walking in New York and you’ll see the social kind of popping out of the buildings. There’s no other 3D mapping that we’re aware of that we could use. We were waiting for this to come out,” he adds.
To be clear, the 3D mapping via Google Maps will launch first in the company’s iPad application, before it arrives in the iPhone version. Barouch says that while the iPhone app is more targeted towards helping people find things nearby (generally within a 1 mile radius), the iPad app will be more about discovery. The company started off as a tool for serendipitous discovery, in fact, before shifting its focus earlier this year to user intent. That is, now if a user wants to find some good coffee shops nearby, they can just type that in the Roamz mobile application.
But the iPad app isn’t trying to return Roamz to its “serendipitous discovery” roots – instead, it’s just about exploring a little further out. “It’s more about discovery – for travel, it’s awesome,” says Barouch. “If I’m going to Paris and I don’t really know what I’m looking for, but I want to collect a bunch of places and things to do, it’s really powerful. It’s not serendipity, it’s [about telling you] these are roughly some of the places you would be interested in and these are some of the reasons.”
Barouch notes that Facebook, too, moved into local search recently with the launch of Nearby. “But I don’t think anyone’s really figured out local yet – everyone’s coming at it from different angles,” he says.
Since the iPad app isn’t yet live, we asked Barouch to put together a little demo so others can also see the Google Maps SDK in action. That video is below.