December 15, 2006 tools

Point: Local Live Maps

When it comes to Web 2.0 apps, online maps are easily the thing I use the most. I don’t go anywhere these days w/o first pulling up the map on MapQuest, Google maps or, for a coupla years now, (starting back when it used to be called MapPoint). I generally use Google for my search engine, so don’t think it’s just the MS employee thing pushing me — I genuinely like better.

Google and MS have been in an arms race for years on the maps stuff, doing fancy stuff like 3D globes and other goo that looks good in demos, but that I don’t need. However, in this war of the world (so to speak : ), today MS fired a decisive shot across the bow, I think — the Send” menu. This is huge for me, because I can send the directions to my phone, either via SMS or via email, and I get a great display clearly optimized for my smartphone. Not only does it have a great mini-map, but the directions are easy to read (saving me from printing the directions for just a single trip) and it has a link to reverse the directions (the one thing I never remember to do).

Oh sure, I can do the same thing with the Google maps Email” menu, but when I follow the link on my phone, there’s no map (although there is a handy link to reverse the directions). Also, the directions don’t read as well and I swear it’s faster to surf to the directions (although this might just be the MS bias talkin’ : ).

On the other hand, I just noticed that Google maps has a new Add destination” link for multi-destination trips, which is the only thing I use AAA online TripTiks for and you have to be a member to access the feature (I am, but still it’s kinda clunky…). Hey, guys — can I have that, too?!?

P.S. I think I’ve scared the most reactionary, close-minded folks away, so I think I’ll cool it on the postscripts for a while (’til I feel like it again : ). BTW, my definition of close-minded” is those who don’t think I have the right to express my opinion,” not those who disagree w/ me.” Hopefully I managed to shake the former off my RSS feed while keeping the latter.