I know I have been covering Google a lot lately but they have been introducing new features to applications I use regularly and how can I not share that with you? This is not exactly news as this is being discussed in the other tech blogs since this morning.
Google Maps Street View
Google Maps has introduced a new feature called Street Views to a few cities like San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, Denver & New York. When you are viewing an address in the Map, it gives you a blue outline where this feature is enabled and if you clicked on it, it provides a street level picture of the address.
What makes it great is that it’s not just a static picture but provides a 360 degree view (same drag option in Maps) + smotth navigation. If you are thinking 360-degree view offered in real estate websites you are right but imagine if you could actually navigate through the entire house from one picture (if the house was built ranch style) but only this is on streets (no vertical movements yet). It’s like you are taking a virtual stroll through the neighborhood that you are about to visit and looking around for landmarks even before you arrive!! As you move down a street, different street names are overlayed nicely on the road with a white stripe.
I believe these pictures were taken from a car mounted with a camera as you can sometimes see vehicles with their license plates readable and people as well. I wonder if this would call for privacy issues.
Online Maps Alternatives
Yahoo Maps – First online maps that I started using. When Google Maps came about with the click and drag interface with smooth rendering, I was an immediate convert. Even though Yahoo Maps have been catching up, I haven’t had a compelling reason to try them again.
Mapquest – It was my second choice after Yahoo Maps in the beginning when some of Yahoo Maps directions have been questionable. I was absolutely awed when they added satellite imagery to the maps and spend a lot of time gawking.
Microsoft Live Search – I have heard good things about it but never really used them much but I have used their desktop counterpart Streets & Trips. The satellite imagery was black and white but that’s all I remember from the few times I have used it. Their Virtual Earth 3D is kind of like Google Earth and is pretty cool.
Ask.com City Search – Lesser known among others, but I think their application deserves more credit than it gets. It is far superior when it comes to adding stops in driving directions. Also, I like the ability to save maps while I build different versions to see which route would be better.
There may be other options available out there but this list was from my experience. What mapping application do you use and why do you prefer it over the others?