Google Maps

Google just went live with Google Maps. My first impression is: Wow! The interface is really smooth. Just select the map, and click – to zoom out and + to zoom in. Drag the map around to look at different places. This is actually easier to use than a road atlas.

Here are some things you can do with it:
Map an address – Just type in as much of the address as you have, and click search. For example, here’s the Disneyland’s address: 1313 S. Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA.

Get directions – Type in your starting address, the word “to”, and your destination address, and you’ll get a map from here to their. For example, my neighborhood to Disneyland: Calabasas, CA to 1313 S. Harbor Blvd, Anaheim

Search for businesses – Type in what you’re looking for, the word “in”, and the location you want to search. For pet stores in my area, I could use pet store in Calabasas, CA.

So, what’s wrong with it? Not much. I’d be happy to use it as it is. It would be cool if there were options to turn different layers off and on. I’d like to be able to put multiple stops on the directions search. Their “print” feature could use some more work; when I tried it, it didn’t show my path on the map. It would also be nice to be able to print close up maps of the turns. On the other hand, I really like how they don’t clutter the page with ads like other map sites. I’m sure Google will add ads eventually, but I’m sure they won’t go crazy with them.

Update: The Slashdot crowd also suggest Map24. I’ve only spent a few minutes playing with it, but I must say… it looks very interesting. The interface is pretty clean, and dynamic like Google’s. Unlike Google, they are international which would be good if you live somewhere other than the US, or if you’re planning a trip outside the US. Considering Google’s past efforts to be the word’s search engine, I think they’ll be adding maps of other regions eventually.

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