Austinite Bill Kilday’s new book, Never Lost Again, chronicles the creation of what may be one of the most essential applications ever devised. Google Maps, Google Earth, and Waze have forever changed the way many of us get from Point A to Point B, and Kilday witnessed the evolution of the mapping technology that drives them.
Kilday’s behind-the-scenes story starts with Keyhole, a scrappy mapping start-up full of veterans from Austin’s early technology scene where he served as marketing director. Although the company nearly went belly-up after the tech bubble burst, it was bought by Google in 2004 and turned into Google Earth in June of 2005. These days, Kilday works for Niantic, the game development studio behind “Pokémon Go” and the upcoming “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” both of which hinge on the fusion of mapping and augmented reality.
In the book and in our conversation, Kilday explains how mapping has dramatically changed our worldview, how an unlikely combination of the CIA and CNN may have made it all possible, and how, behind the scenes, Keyhole’s plan to map the world set the stage for tech companies like Uber, Yelp, and Airbnb.