I really am starting to think that Google is going to take over the world. After bouncing around from one online map program to another, I settled happily with Yahoo! Maps for the past couple of years. Yahoo! Maps has generally worked well for driving directions, although sometimes the directions are a little too detailed.
But now Google has shaken the tree and I’ve got to reconsider. Google Maps is a new beta product from the geniuses at Google that looks very, very promising. The maps are beautiful and much more readable. The interface is very Google-like; clean and simple. But what I really love is how you can pan by simply clicking on the map and dragging in any direction. It’s this new realtime panning that makes Google Maps a killer app.
That’s not to say it’s not without problems, however. Last Friday I had to drive to a knowledge management event in Los Angeles, and turned to Google Maps for directions. I entered the following address: 350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA in the search form, and got directions that took me a long way out of my way. What I really wanted was 350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (about 23 miles away). What a difference a zip code makes. Fortunately I made it to my event in time, but the lesson learned is simple. Heed the “beta” descriptor and get a second opinion on the directions.