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February 9th, 2005

Google Maps

If you’re the one person that hasn’t seen Google Maps yet, go look now.

As with previous Google endeavors, this is a beautifully done application that takes the super-stagnant market of online mapping services and turns it on its side. Mapquest, Mapblaster, Mapsonus, etc. are all essentially the same thing and are nearly identical to software that was available ten years ago. Google Maps, though, allows you to actually do things you might want to do (“italian restaurants near 1400 pennsylvania ave, washington, dc”), offers good directions, and has by far the most readable maps I’ve seen. In addition, being able to move the map around and zoom in at will (without a page refresh) is just phenomenal. Paul and I were imagining a world where Google Maps was coming with Amazon’s new yellow pages. And what about combining it with Keyhole? So many possibilities.

Downsides: it doesn’t work in Opera, it doesn’t work in Safari, and there are no maps of Greenland.

It’s not much of a stretch to predict that if the other mapping services don’t catch up, they’ll quickly—wait for it… wait for it—fall off the map.

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