Techcrunch’s Maps Review

by: bubba murarka

A few people were talking about the recently posted techcrunch comparison of Ask Maps, Google Maps, MapQuest, Windows Live Local and Yahoo Maps today.  The comments on their post have a good bit of back and forth and I really liked how Frank engaged in the comment discussion (scoble and steve lombardi both provided some WLL feature data points). 

I was bummed that there wasn't any mention of the wacky/cool new preview feature that the WLL team released a while ago.  It enables you to drive (or walk!) down the street and get a street side view of Seattle or San Francisco.  It also lets you move via the keyboard. 

On a minor note, Frank noted that WLL doesn't put a route line on the map for driving directions.  When I mapped my daily commute I got one, so I'm not sure if I'm missing what he meant or if this was missed. 

One thing the techcrunch review prompted me to do was go back to Mapquest.  I hadn't been there in a very long time, and was surprised to see how different its interface was from the other big mapping services.  Since they are the lions share of map traffic I wasn't sure how to interpret that.  In the end, traffic will tell, but I couldn't help and wonder if there is more then one formula for mapping UIs.

Being candid – I had never thought much about maps until the last 6 months, but now I'm blown away by what is out there and eager to see what is to come.  I'm really glad there are so many passionate cartographer out there!  FWIW, my favorite map related thing is going by birds eye tourism to see shamu and the like