si-blog

Google gets you there

Posted Feb 08, 2005 in Technology.

When I was England, I usually used Streetmap. After moving to the United States, I switched to Mapquest to begin with, and then settled on Yahoo! Maps. Lately, I've found myself using Multimap from time to time, although I still prefer the Yahoo! tool. Today, all that changed.

Google has launched a beta version of Google Maps, and first impressions are good. It has one of the slickest mapping interfaces I have ever used, behaving more like professional mapping software than a regular web tool. It combines the power of street-level mapping with Google's search algorithms, allowing you to enter phrases like “from Swarthmore, PA to Malvern, PA” or “blockbuster near 19081,” for example. Nifty use of JavaScript allows the user to move the map around at will, and it recongizes your window dimensions and rewards you with the biggest map it can.

Of course, it is still only a beta release. I've already spotted a few problems (usually with the driving directions), but they are minor. Maps are currently confined to North America, but I expect that to change fairly soon. I'd like to see traffic information and public transportation incorporated in the future, and perhaps aerial photography.

Comments

  1. Gravatar

    I believe I read that google is developing something with keyhole.com for aerial photography.

    Posted by Stephen Collins on Feb 09, 2005.

  2. Gravatar

    Well the aerial photography would be nice, but linking Google Maps to real-time traffic and mass transit info would be better.

    You know what really amazes me about Google? You have to imagine that Google Maps is getting absolutely fucking HAMMERED at the moment, with all the exposure it is getting in the blogosphere. Yet the site is rock solid, fast, and has no apparent outages. How do they do it?

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Feb 09, 2005.

  3. Gravatar

    Dude. I just mapped my house in about 3 seconds, and 2.5 of that was me typing in the address. That is damn impressive, and I'm a map geek. I'm definitely playing around with this tonight.

    Posted by Chad on Feb 09, 2005.