The Oracle of Apollo Snippets from the life of Apollo Lee

Jun 05, 2007 - 15:06

Technology, Web

The New Yahoo Maps

Yahoo recently relaunched their Maps application. It’s very pretty. I’m going to stick with Google Maps, though. Here’s why:

  1. I can’t navigate Yahoo Maps with my keyboard. On Google Maps, I can arrow any way I like, use the + and – keys to zoom, use the mouse wheel to zoom, page up/down to move a screen north/south, home/end to move a screen west/east. (Actually, keying works in Safari on the Mac, but not in Firefox.)
  2. Google Maps zooms in dramatically tighter than Yahoo Maps. Zooming in with satellite view to maximum on 1 Infinite Loop: (Google has one more level of zoom on street level, max satellite: 240 × 120px; Yahoo at max zoom: 120 × 60px).
  3. I cannot tab to form fields on the Yahoo Maps application, because it’s a Flash application (Safari or Firefox, Mac OS X). I can in Google Maps.
  4. The search field in Google Maps is much more simple in Google than in Yahoo.
  5. Geotagging on Flickr is not well integrated with Yahoo Maps. Example: Flickr thinks my photos from the climbing gym (816 Stewart Dr, Sunnyvale, CA) were taken in San Jose, California. It likewise thinks that Woodside is part of Redwood City, Portola Valley is part of Palo Alto (despite being in another county), Saratoga is part of San Jose, and that West Campus Drive at Stanford is in Menlo Park. This is just a minor nit, because the map under the “Taken in” link still points to the correct location on the map.
  6. ⌘A (CMD-A) in a field on Yahoo Maps selects everything else on the page, since Yahoo Maps is in Flash. I usually use ⌘A [delete] to clear out a field on Google Maps. If I have to jump all over the place and click-drag on everything to edit, I’m not going to want to use the application.
  7. Google Maps has “My Maps”, which lets me draw my own maps.

What I like about new Yahoo Maps that Google needs to look at:

  1. Yahoo Maps in many countries that are completely blank in Google Maps. One major instance of this is Mexico. Google offers maps in Brazil, but not Mexico. Google even offers sporadic mapping around Africa, across Russia, in Australia and New Zealand, India, Thailand, Singapore, and Europe. Yahoo has unnumbered highways all over Latin America and maps in Russia, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, and other countries that primarily use non-Latin alphabets are anglicized. If I don’t read Japanese or Chinese or Thai or Russian, I can’t navigate Google’s maps in those country. While Google Maps are primarily for local residents of local, English-speaking people on English localized websites are navigating around to find landmarks, plan vacations, or just out of curiosity. Having a Romanized version of CJK locations would be helpful.
  2. Zoomed out levels on Yahoo Maps show the area in shaded relief. That’s really cool.
  3. Yahoo Maps has county, municipality, and neighborhood boundaries and names. (Note to Yahoo: Height Ashbury?)
  4. I like that Yahoo Maps understands “Stanyan @ Haight, SF”. So does Google with “Stanyan & Haight, SF”.

Neither Yahoo Maps nor Google Maps will allow me to plot courses that allow me to stay off freeways, but that’s not enough of a priority for anybody except bicyclists to care about. (Note: Jeremy Cole corrects me on this issue. Google Maps has a checkbox on directions called “Avoid Highways”. Borders Sunnyvale to Jack London Square, for example. Thanks, Jeremy!)


Posted by
Jeremy Cole
Jun 05, 2007 - 16:06

Posted by
Jun 05, 2007 - 17:06

I’m starting to love google street views. You can spy on so many weird stuff there. Here’s one with a UFO on top of a chinatown restaurant. So funny!

UFO Spaceship has an affinity for Chinatown shops

Posted by
Jun 05, 2007 - 18:06

@Jeremy: Wow. What a useful feature. I never noticed that before.

Posted by
Jun 09, 2007 - 21:06

Yahoo is dropping out of the map race. Their minor map update notwithstanding, they have not released any new maps product this year.

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