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Google buys better European maps

Google bought European Internet mapping company Endoxon yesterday, characterising the move as part of its effort to improve Google Maps and Google Earth in European markets.

Prior to the acquisition, the Lucerne, Switzerland-based Endoxon provided Internet mapping solutions, mobile services, data processing, cartography and direct marketing products.

The acquisition covers only Endoxon's Internet, mapping and data processing business units. Google said it will continue to service Endoxon's current customers or make arrangements to meet the company's needs, but will discontinue selling its products and services to new customers.

"We're very excited about the company's innovative mapping technology and the high quality of its engineers," Google spokesperson Megan Quinn told

In a statement, Google called Endoxon a pioneer in Ajax mapping technologies.

Ajax is the technology behind the most popular local search products on the market today. When demonstrating AskCity,'s new local search product, Ask director of product management Ryan Massie told the multi-paned interfaces that Ajax allows reduces the need for page loads.

Fewer page loads means faster search and thus fewer antsy users leaving to searching elsewhere. But Google said it bought Endoxon for more than just its technology. The move also had to do something with location.

Google began selling local business advertisement for Google Maps earlier this year, and to date, its European local business advertising remains limited to the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

Google said it bought Endoxon to improve that business, or at least the platforms from which those advertisements are served.

In a statement posted on Endoxon's website, Google said that the acquired company's European network will help Google improve the functionality of Google Earth and Google Maps across Europe by extending its engineering and technical resources.

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