SXSW is primetime for startups trying to make some waves in the tech industry. But it’s also as good a place as any for big companies to push a new product (see Apple’s iPad 2 pop-up shop hullabaloo) or draw attention to recent accomplishments.
In that spirit, Google’s vice president of Location and Local Services, Marissa Mayer, was on hand in Austin, Texas to deliver some intriguing bits of information about her employer’s ventures into the mobile communications world. Of particular interest is what she revealed about Google’s mapping and navigation service, Google Maps.
As reported by BGR, Meyer announced that 40 percent of all Google Maps usage is now conducted through mobile devices. And on Christmas and New Years Day, mobile access of Maps was higher than desktop usage for the first time ever. All told, Meyer claims Google Maps has 150 million mobile users.
The Android Google Maps Navigation service has been responsible for navigating users through 12 billion miles of roads and highways yearly, with traffic routing sparing users a whopping two years per day of time that would have otherwise been spent in traffic, according to Meyer.
Meyer also laid out a future vision for Maps that included a capability to help users catch flights by helping them decide when to leave for the airport based on weather conditions and traffic data.
Also, while Google is thrilled to be the pre-installed map app on the iPhone, it wishes it could be better — presumably something along the lines of what Android users enjoy. “We like being the default provider, but we’d like to get some of these updates out to a broader audience. That’s still a debate/question we’re considering,” she said regarding to the Maps iPhone app according to BGR.