While Google makes a lot of noise about "streamlining" and developing beautiful products for the mainstream, it is still pushing out niche business applications as well. Google Maps Coordinate, a suite of apps and services designed to assign and track tasks for workers on the road based on their location, is a prime example.
Developed in Google's Sydney HQ, Maps Coordinate is designed for companies where staff are frequently on the road and need tasks assigned to them (think service professionals, travelling salespeople and the like). "It makes it easy for organisations that have mobile teams to be much more efficient and better organised," said senior product manager Dan Chu at a media briefing in Sydney yesterday. It's a little like Google Latitude, but with a business focus and an emphasis on completing tasks.
The service can be accessed from a web browser or from an Android handset (an iOS version is also under consideration). Tasks can be assigned to workers based on their location (tracked through their Android device), and notifications instantly sent to these staff. The system also includes check-in options to track when work on a task actually starts, and businesses can add custom text fields to make the system meet their needs. There's also an option to automatically switch off location tracking at a set time of day so staff don't feel they're constantly being stalked.
Oddly, there's no direct integration with Google Drive. However, users on the service can be managed via the existing Google Apps control panel.
Google Maps Coordinate costs $US15 per user per month (that's introductory pricing which will run until September 1; Google hasn't said what will happen after that).