Wednesday, November 02, 2005

New Yahoo Map Leaves Competition Behind

Yahoo's new map is simply awesome. I haven't seen a more spectacular web application since Google's Map release. Yahoo has proved that it is a force to reckon with. Each and every feature in the map is very well thought out. Here are a few things to note:
  1. When you do a local search, the location overlays show the name on mouse over, not on mouse click. On mouse click, the overlay shows more details like phone number
  2. You can get directions from one point to several locations in the same map. This is a big advantage for delivery and sales people going to many places in the same trip
  3. Real time traffic conditions!
  4. Block search in the top right corner of the map that lets you browse a area in both zoomed-in and zoomed-out mode
  5. Nice printout pages include all relevant like including phone number of locations
  6. Saves all your locations automatically
  7. Categorized local listings
  8. Shows details of each section of a direction in cute little box that appears right below the direction section. When I mouse over the direction section, the section is hi-lited in the main map
  9. Dragging the map is seamless and there are no empty squares trying to catch up when you drag quickly
  10. Browser back button works, and you can bookmark a heavily annotated map and reproduce it later
  11. All toolbars and search boxes are collapsible
Needless to say, Yahoo has far surpassed any other map available today. It is like having Google Earth in a browser. Don't forget, Yahoo is the king of Internet portal, directories, and classifieds. Now that it has the map platform, it will not be long before we see all the data integrated with the map.

When Google Maps was released, the term AJAX didn't even exist. Now when excitement around AJAX was reaching maniacal heights, Yahoo went with a more powerful, and much better suited Flash platform. Purists will object to this, but as long as the users get rich functionality, who cares if it uses a plug-in. After all, 90% of the computers have Flash installed. I bet Macromedia will be breathing a sigh of relief because this announcement will revive fading public interest in Flash. I am happy to see a real large-scale application realizing the dream shown in Flash's Pet Store Demo.

Microsoft should learn a few things from Yahoo. Without much hoopla, Yahoo has released something that will definitely touch the life of millions. Compare this to the farce that was live.com.

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