"Mashups" are value-added Google maps that are overlaid with useful–nor not–information. An example cited in the piece was the Beer Mapping Project, displaying breweries and brewpubs accross the US on a Google map.
While the location of breweries and brewpubs may be useful only if you’re a beer afficionado, there are some obvious practical applications Google maps mashups can have from a marketing persepective.
One that I find particuarly useful is a map of free wi-fi hotspots near my office. You can see from the map that most of the hotspots are provided by coffee shops. So, if I need some quick wireless access, as I often do, am I going to Starbucks and their T-Mobile for-fee wi-fi access, or do I go to my local Dunn Bros coffee shop and get access for free? That no-brainer drives my business to Dunn Bros.
You can see then, that the ease and usefulness of Google maps can provide businesses with numerous stores not only a useful tool for your web site visitors, but a great local marketing vehicle.