Liz Gannes in re/code:
Ten years ago today, Google Maps launched to the world.
When it was born, it was a paper atlas in living form, with no pages to turn. Instead of online mapping leader MapQuest’s printable list of directions, navigation routes were overlaid on top of the map itself. And Google Maps loaded map tiles in a Web browser without any special software so you could explore the world without refreshing, a technical feat that had never been seen before.
In 2005, nobody really knew what would come of online maps, or how they would become such a crucial aspect of daily lives in the Internet-connected world.
How Google would partner with Apple to bring online maps to their true home, smartphones, but the alliance would fall apart.
How Google Maps would have more than a billion users and become Google’s second-largest property after its search engine.
Nobody had any idea, least of all Google.