As consumers are increasingly using GPS enabled smartphones to plot their way around while driving, biking and walking, the pressure is high on those who provide such data to make sure its accurate and timely.
In recognition of this immense task, Yahoo announced yesterday it will ditch its ancient Yahoo Maps to focus on "search, communications and digital content." Maps isn't the only thing to go, as Yahoo is cutting a few more products that were popular with users but would never be commercial successes.
Yahoo Maps (maps.yahoo.com) will be gone by the end of June, though may appear again in future search upgrades.
"We made this decision to better align resources to Yahoo's priorities as our business has evolved since we first launched Yahoo Maps eight years ago," the company said in a report entitled "Q2 2015 Progress Report on Our Product Prioritization"
Other project to get the axe include:
The move to close these properties makes commercial sense. They are low impact, low profit yet highly labor intensive and so should probably go.
But the fact it has taken so long to get there suggests Yahoo, and CEO Marissa Mayer, are still figuring out what, exactly, Yahoo should be.
Increasingly it appears Mayer's idea of Yahoo is a more media-oriented version of Google, her former employer. Search and communications, two of the three pillars of the new platform, are exactly what Google does.
Google is also in the content game, the third pillar, thanks to its YouTube video property. Mayer has gone into that space, acquiring Dailymotion, while also emulating Netflex, through commissioning shows like Community and hiring celeb news anchor Katie Couric. She also recently landed the first NFL regular season football game to appear for free on the web, which shows that 'content' in Yahoo-speak is video. And lots of it.
It will be interesting to see if Yahoo can effectively compete with pure play video companies like Netflix and Hulu, while Apple TV rolls out across the industry.
It may amount to a question of how long Mayer can, or wants to, retain her CEO title.