Recursive Search in Google Maps – Why is it interesting?

Apparently this has been out for some time now, but I am able to run recursive searches on Google Maps. I have used the “What is nearby” searches, but I was unaware I can do this from the search field.

What is a typical search on Google Maps?
Obviously the most common would be something like “2000 Main St. Hamilton, ON”

Then there is a slightly more interesting search query…
something like “Coffee in Toronto” is something typical to have on a location map

Finally, there is the ultimate – so far – location query; the recursive query
for example “Coffee near highway in Toronto”

I like it, I like it a lot actually. 

So how about we use some nested recursion?
“Tim Horton’s near airport and Starbucks”

Now this is getting really interesting, you can now see the bunch of points around Pearson and another bunch around the Island and some orphaned point by Scarborough. This is beyond finding directions, one could use this for some analysis on where specific brands focus their stores, or even which regions in a city different brands clash ex. Tim Horton and Starbucks. Actually it would be useful if Google Maps colored each marker differently in the above recursive search, ex. red vs. blue. This way I can actually see where Tim Horton and Starbucks are throwing punches at each other.

Let me just check one of these locations, and make sure there is actually a Starbucks near the Timmies – just to make sure Google Maps is not pulling my leg here.

I picked that point marked “A” on the very left, and searched nearby locations…

and sure enough that Tim Horton is near a Starbucks and the airport. You can even click the markers to view the info windows and verify this yourself.

So next time you use Google Maps remember you can do more than just a location search.

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