A feature on Google maps caught my attention.

A search for New York City showed, in addition to boroughs and highways, a dot marking an active shooter in Jersey City.

It appeared on Dec. 10th while the tragedy was unfolding.

Google started this effort – dubbed Google Crisis – to signal when there are disasters like earthquakes or cyclones.

It also shows how news could be integrated into maps.

You can extrapolate to a not-so-distant future where the maps we rely on for directions and shopping also become portals to all manner of news events that are relevant to a place.

The potential utility is obvious, but so are the challenges.

Unlike a place like Brooklyn or a road like I-95, there is no universal agreement on what constitutes “news.”

In this case, a decision had to be made that the shooting was a news event of such importance to post it on the map.

And someone had to decide whether to make that visible to everyone globally or some people ie New York residents.

Who decides what constitutes “news” is an obvious question. It may be equally thorny to decide who should see it.

But overlaying more types of news on maps seems like an obvious enhancement for Google.