Why doesn’t Microsoft Maps get the hype?

First, thanks Leon Atkinson for the compliment: Scoble’s links are as good as the links that come out of Digg.”

Anyway, while reading my feeds this morning I found this post by Peter Laudati, who works for Microsoft: “Virtual Earth Virtually Ignored? (aka What’s in a name?)”

He points out that Google got all the credit for its new “MyMaps” feature, while Microsoft’s maps had that feature several months ago.

He blames it on the URL and naming strategy Microsoft has been using lately. Or lack thereof.

He’s right. But, his post got me to look a little closer at the personal feature.

I went to http://maps.google.com/ (Google’s maps) and http://local.live.com (Microsoft’s maps).

I think Peter is right, but he’s also wrong.

The reason Google got credit is cause their maps are easier to use.

Why? One search box. Microsoft’s has two.

But, look at the opening page on both services. Google has a lot more info density on my page, cause I’ve done a ton of searches (it shows me many of my past searches).

And Google has two tabs up top: 1) Search Results 2) My Maps.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has 1) Welcome 2) Collections 3) Driving directions 4) Traffic 5) Locate me 6) Share 7) Print.

Too much. If you’re hoping people find “Collections.” But, let’s try them out.

I saved the same thing on both. Or I thought I did. Google’s UI is simpler and Microsoft’s has more choices and isn’t as clear.

I thought I screwed up. I went back and did it on Microsoft’s maps again. Went Collections/New Collections. Filled in the form. Put the push pin on where the Ritz is in Half Moon Bay. Looks like it saved it automatically (I don’t see a save button). Close the browser. Go back to Collections/Open. Nothing is there.

Google’s feature works, and is simple. I can’t figure out how to use Microsoft’s collections feature, and that’s after finding it.

Microsoft’s software makes me feel like an idiot (it’s true, I know, but the software over on Google doesn’t make me feel that way).

So, when you’re wondering why a competitor is getting more hype, you might look a little deeper than just the name.

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