Well, it looks like my wish really is Google’s command! Google Maps has added a new feature called “What’s here?” Right-click on the USO (unidentified stationary object ) and you have the option of asking “What’s here?”:
In most of the fairly random places I asked about, the answer seemed to be “We dunno . . . um, an address?”:
However, shopping centers and office parks were more helpful:
What, no shop listing?
That’s better. Note that Google’s already integrated the “at this address” feature.
Physical features also returned some good results. Like the shopping center above, this lake returned user-generated content, such as the pictures that Google layers on its maps:
Interestingly, “What’s here?” takes into account how close you are to the object (in your map view):
For example, if you’re zoomed in closely on Manhattan, you can get the full address of a point by clicking on “What’s here?”. . . .
If you’re a bit more zoomed out, you can get larger features, such as the names of the different Islands in the Galapagos Archielago – Isla Fernandina, Isla Isabela, Isla Marchena, Isla Guy Fawkes, and so on.
In my limited testing, though, sometimes Google could find a business by name, but couldn’t seem to find it for the “What’s here?” listings, no matter where on the block I tried. (And the “big ol’ building”? Google didn’t know.)
This “reverse geocoding” capability has been available in the Maps API for a few months. what do you think—is this a useful tool or just another fun bell & whistle?