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Yahoo Maps, now web two point ohier
November 3, 2005 9:49 AM   Subscribe

For the last six months or so, it's been a war between Yahoo and Google to see who can outdo each other. They're often releasing competing products at nearly the same time, but Google Maps has held the lead on coolest map for a while now. Yahoo finally countered today, releasing their beta maps, which work much like Google's, though it uses flash instead of javascript. I kind of like the little video game-style radar map in the upper right to show where you are in the bigger picture and the directions feature closeups on the left pane when expanded. Apparently all the cool API stuff works in it already, and they've released an events browser to show that off as well.
posted by mathowie (60 comments total)

 
Competition = cool stuff.
posted by delmoi at 9:52 AM on November 3, 2005


I like that it lists the businesses for a given address. Does Google do this yet? I know I told them to.
posted by mullacc at 9:55 AM on November 3, 2005


I assume the "events browser" is powered by Andy's Upcoming.org engine?
posted by jonson at 9:55 AM on November 3, 2005


See Yahoo's developer page for a list of other apps that use the Y!Maps api.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:00 AM on November 3, 2005


I think it's an awful interface. Too cluttered. And every damn thing is a new popup.

If I know the address for something, don't I already know what business there? Why do you need to swallow up a third of my map real estate with some "HAY THERE R BIZNESS HERE!!11"?

Oh, and Flash is no substitute for proper, elegant DHTML.
posted by symphonik at 10:00 AM on November 3, 2005


Nice, but it would be better if it showed my house. Or city. Or country. Or continent.

Also, does it not have satellite pics, or am I just overlooking how to switch between the two views?
posted by Bugbread at 10:00 AM on November 3, 2005


Strangely, the beta Yahoo maps says it can't find my home address, even though the standard Yahoo maps does find it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:01 AM on November 3, 2005


You can use the scroll button to zoom in and out. That = awesome.
posted by i8ny3x at 10:02 AM on November 3, 2005


Cool -- can't wait until it works.

Right now it's pretty clunky. And it doesn't even know my town.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 10:05 AM on November 3, 2005


As bugbread said, where's the satellite view? That's one of the coolest features of Google maps.
posted by terrier319 at 10:07 AM on November 3, 2005


This little radar widget is extremely useful! It is to GMaps zoom what GMaps scroll was to mapquest's scroll. It shows you exactly what areas your map will cover without you have to wait for it to render.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:08 AM on November 3, 2005


Doesn't seem to understand intersections, which is a bummer, but it does do waypoints, which is awesome. I've never been able to figure out a way to make Google maps do that.
posted by jlub at 10:09 AM on November 3, 2005


"beta"
posted by Count Ziggurat at 10:10 AM on November 3, 2005


It has traffic reports. That's useful.
And the list of business is much more comprehensive than Google Maps.

It being flash is a little annoying. But on the whole, pretty impressive and definitely an upgrade to the older Y! Maps.
posted by linux at 10:10 AM on November 3, 2005


Ah come on, at least Google pretends that the world exists outside of north America.

I guess we're still running on web version 1.3 down here in New Zealand?!
posted by pivotal at 10:11 AM on November 3, 2005


the multipoint directions are nice.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:14 AM on November 3, 2005


Paul Neave did a flash based google maps app a bit ago. The source code is available on his site too.
posted by 13twelve at 10:15 AM on November 3, 2005


Sssslllllllloooooowwwwwwwwwww...........
posted by Rothko at 10:16 AM on November 3, 2005


also zooming in using the mouse wheel. Yahoo has better overall directions too.

no satellite though, but that's a bit of a novelty, i.e. satellite pictures from year(s) ago.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:16 AM on November 3, 2005


I can't even type in a search location. You would think they would've at least worked that one out...

But in other news, what's up with this Google "local" crap? I don't get it. I used to be able to type in something like "Thunder Road, Stillwater Lake, PA" and it would take me there instantly. Now it always seems to look for anything related to that search term in the greater Kansas area. (because it's in the middle?) And then if I change the search location to where I live - well, what if I want to search for something outside where I live?

Am I on the wrong website? What am I doing wrong?
posted by fungible at 10:18 AM on November 3, 2005


It's all right. Pretty clunky, pretty slow, not as simple as Google Maps.

Still, I'm glad there's serious competition.
posted by selfnoise at 10:18 AM on November 3, 2005


This is neat. It seems pretty fast, I like the interface, and I love that I can use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out. Plus, it's in beta, so hopefully there will be fewer kinks as time goes on. Competition means we win, I guess.

Of note - like linux said, the live traffic report tool is useful.

Although, I would take it a step further and say that the live traffic report tool is not only useful, but incredibly fucking awesome.
posted by kbanas at 10:19 AM on November 3, 2005


The scroll wheel zoom is really nice, though.
posted by Bugbread at 10:22 AM on November 3, 2005


Wow! LOTS of cool little features here. Just a few:

- click on the divider bar and the left nav goes away. Now your map is huge. Works like a desktop app would. nice.
- remembers your last position in a cookie
- but the little preview window is what takes this whole online maps thing to the next level.


As said above, competition = good.
posted by gwint at 10:24 AM on November 3, 2005


Yahoo vs Google book scanning shows Google in the lead But the Yahoo scanned books can be downloaded and printed. Google Print is online only (even for public domain) which greatly diminishes the value for re-printing out of print books.
posted by stbalbach at 10:25 AM on November 3, 2005


No scroll wheel zoom on Safari :(

I'd like a little less Flash (pun intended) in favor of a faster interface, like Google, but as has been said, competition is good.
posted by mkultra at 10:27 AM on November 3, 2005


Wow, the live traffic maps are pretty cool!

But NO HIGHWAY EXITS. Goddammit, I would like to finally rid myself of MapQuest for good, but I can't until you LABEL your EXITS.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:37 AM on November 3, 2005


Oh, and Flash is no substitute for proper, elegant DHTML.

DHTML is such a joke. I mean, really. It's just as difficult to program (if not more so) then hard-core win32 or java2d or what-have you and it's so featureless.

It's a huge step backwards. The only benefit is that it 'works everywhere'. These web2.0 idiots are confusing everyone. It's nice that we have a rich (more like 'middle class') interface that works everywhere, but even win3.1 programs could have more features. Hell, win 1.0 programs and MacOS 1.0 programs had more functionality (with less programming) available to them (direct pixel drawing)

Yeah, writing your own pixel drivers isn't easy, but neither is working with DHTML.

Flash is OK, but action script sucks balls, which really holds it back, IMO.
posted by delmoi at 10:41 AM on November 3, 2005


delmoi: Actionscript 3.0 might change your mind about coding in Flash...
posted by gwint at 10:44 AM on November 3, 2005


slow and jerky... not intuitive...

Google still wins at this point...
posted by HuronBob at 10:44 AM on November 3, 2005


the traffic part is very nice
posted by poppo at 10:46 AM on November 3, 2005


Google's traffic times are not as accurate as Yahoo's, or so I've learned through experience.
posted by raysmj at 10:48 AM on November 3, 2005


It has potential, that's for sure. Yahoo has a lot of talent, look for them to do a lot of cool stuff with their offerings over the next few months
posted by cell divide at 10:49 AM on November 3, 2005


"uses flash instead of javascript" is all I need to know.

Won't be using it, ever.
posted by wakko at 10:55 AM on November 3, 2005


Did Flash steal your girlfriend once or something?
posted by gwint at 10:58 AM on November 3, 2005


I bought Flash's girlfriend on Ebay once.
posted by selfnoise at 11:05 AM on November 3, 2005


how about flash is responsible for the most annoying advertisements to ever strike the Internet. the flash popup which forces you to hunt for the close button. screw flash.
posted by reflection at 11:05 AM on November 3, 2005


Colour me unimpressed.

Zoomed in further and further on my home and suddenly every Firefox window I had open was gone.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:06 AM on November 3, 2005


If I know the address for something, don't I already know what business there?

No. Why would you?
posted by lodurr at 11:08 AM on November 3, 2005


Doing mapping for a commercial real estate firm, I find this a nice alternative to Google Maps for some things. I do like the business at the address bit and how it can be editted via Yahoo! (although I'm amprehensive about abuse potential). There are several old addresses for my employer listed though.

I also would like the satellite view, but Google did buy Keyhole for a reason. Map printing is handled better than Google IMHO.
posted by infowar at 11:15 AM on November 3, 2005


Who are these "Yahoo" upstarts, anyway? Did they buy the name from whatever that old portal site was, you know, back when people thought "portals" were interesting?
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:17 AM on November 3, 2005


Yahoo is that thing that keeps buying stuff that is kind of neat, like Flickr and Upcoming. Consolidation of stuff, I guess.

I was always a little hesitant on Flex since it always seemed like it was doing a lot of what the whole XML and JavaScript realm was. However, it hit release right before the whole AJAX press nonsense and has some support from IBM as well. Anyone who writes it off with "wah, wah, flash is lame" is missing the point because a lot of the shortcomings of Flash -- inability to use browser state to go forward/back, popups not provided by new browser windows, etc -- are being duplicated in AJAX and JavaScript all the damn time these days.
posted by mikeh at 11:26 AM on November 3, 2005


Yawn, USA only.
posted by salmacis at 11:35 AM on November 3, 2005


If I know the address for something, don't I already know what business there?

Yeah, but what if you know the address of the barbeque you're attending, and want to know if you can pick up some liquor and ice nearby?
posted by davejay at 11:40 AM on November 3, 2005


yahoo still can't find where i live while google can.
posted by xmattxfx at 12:02 PM on November 3, 2005


how about flash is responsible for the most annoying advertisements to ever strike the Internet. the flash popup which forces you to hunt for the close button. screw flash.

Um, no, annoying advertisers are responsible for those. Talk about shooting the messenger. Or rather, lambasting cars because messengers drive them.
posted by Tikirific at 12:13 PM on November 3, 2005


And they bought Oddpost - I liked Oddpost before there was GMail.
posted by wilberforce at 12:21 PM on November 3, 2005


tiki, I have flashblock installed and I would say I might click to activate a flash unit once for every two or three HUNDRED blocked items I see. If almost every car on the road had a messanger it might be a valid analogy.
posted by phearlez at 12:30 PM on November 3, 2005


The navigation reminds of the Navigator in Photoshop, but it is actually more difficult to use than Google's.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:31 PM on November 3, 2005


reflection : "how about flash is responsible for the most annoying advertisements to ever strike the Internet. the flash popup which forces you to hunt for the close button. screw flash."

You know what really pisses me off? Electricity. Electricity is responsible for the most annoying forms of advertising to ever strike my world. Screw electricity.
posted by Bugbread at 12:36 PM on November 3, 2005


Flashblock is the answer for all of us for whom Flash killed our Dad.
posted by Sparx at 12:36 PM on November 3, 2005


Yeah, it's very nice and pretty and stuff, and I could understand why they might have missed off, say, Turkmenistan, but surely it's not hard to come by maps of Europe? There's not even a notice of when they will make it a useful service to the people who live in the other 192 countries on the planet, either, which is just plain rude.
posted by jack_mo at 1:07 PM on November 3, 2005


jack_mo: There is a very visible announcement on why it only has maps for the USA. It's the big BETA tag, in the URL, on the interface, all over the damn place.

See, Yahoo! is a US company. This is a Beta product. This is a free product. What the hell do you expect them to do, start with maps of Chile? Christ, I really thought it was only Americans who had this deeply instilled sense of entitlement. Thanks for proving me wrong.

I'm South African, by the way, in case you were inclined to start mouthing off about arrogant Yankee bastards.
posted by dvdgee at 1:54 PM on November 3, 2005


jack_mo: There is a very visible announcement on why it only has maps for the USA. It's the big BETA tag, in the URL, on the interface, all over the damn place.

The word 'beta' suggests that it is in development and some thing may not work properly, it doesn't really explain clearly their choice to launch with only US maps, nor does it provide information on when the service will expand to include other places.

See, Yahoo! is a US company

Well, yeah, but it's a web company. Call me a hippy, but I like to think of this web place as being rather international (you know, with South Africans being needlessly snarky towards Englishmen who live in Scotland on an American website). And since the old Yahoo! Maps wasn't limited to the US, it seems reasonable to suppose the new one wouldn't be either.

Christ, I really thought it was only Americans who had this deeply instilled sense of entitlement. Thanks for proving me wrong.

Oh, cock off, Mister Smugchops. I don't have a sense of entitlement, I have a sense of frustration that every time a service like this is launched, regardless of whether it's limited to the US, UK, SA, or wherever, it's limits aren't made explicit. Labelling it Yahoo! Maps Beta (USA) would've taken little effort, been a polite nod to the millions of Yahoo! users outwith the US, and made good business sense - us non-Americans checking out the site wouldn't've wasted five minutes being taken to obscure places in the US named after European cities, or zooming out the map only to find it wouldn't zoom back in to their neck of the woods, which is what made me annoyed at the site, and consequently more likely to stick with Google Maps.
posted by jack_mo at 2:14 PM on November 3, 2005


I'm South African, by the way, in case you were inclined to start mouthing off about arrogant Yankee bastards.

Oops, missed one! I wasn't about to, and don't tend to. And that's a bit rich from someone who believes all Americans have a deeply instilled sense of entitlement, isn't it?
posted by jack_mo at 2:17 PM on November 3, 2005


dvdgee : "See, Yahoo! is a US company. This is a Beta product. This is a free product. What the hell do you expect them to do, start with maps of Chile?"

No, just that it's not a very viable competitor to Google Maps at this point, Google also being a US company, Google Maps also having had the whole world while it was still a beta product, and Google maps also being a free product.

It's not a sense of entitlement, it's a sense of something not being a great product (yet). It's the same reason people make fun of Infinium (the company that was supposed to make the Phantom Gaming System). It's not that we felt entitled to them making a really good game system, it's just that we weren't impressed with the plans for their game system.
posted by Bugbread at 2:44 PM on November 3, 2005


phearlez: yeah, but that just means ads are everywhere, which was the case when they were animated Gifs, Jpeg banners, or whatever. Years ago (and still today) gifs were probably used the majority of the time as annoying banner ads, but it doesn't make any sense to hate the gif format, either. It does make sense, though, to hate the proprietors of websites that sell space for invasive advertising, and the advertisers that choose deliberately to make ads that get in your way.

Fact is, Flash is being used in a nice way here, to provide a service, as does other Flash-based services such as Google Video. There's valid criticisms to make about Yahoo Maps (such as "my city doesn't show up," "where's the rest of the world?"), but the platform that it runs on isn't one of them.
posted by Tikirific at 2:53 PM on November 3, 2005


bugbread, are you sure google maps had more than the US when it first launched? I recall additional countries being added later on. Also, google maps wasn't compatible with Safari for several months. Say what you will about Flash, but it's more ubiquitous than IE...
posted by gwint at 4:48 PM on November 3, 2005


It seems to have locked up my middle mouse button and has forced me to quit firefox. Too bad, cause I kinda liked it. Not as cool as Flash Earth, but more useful.
posted by hoborg at 6:12 PM on November 3, 2005


Bullcrap.

Apparently mathowie doesn't know that MSN's Virtual Earth launched months ago, not long after Google's first beta of its system, and is in my opinion far superior to not only Yahoo but Google's entries (MS actually had an internal version of this product ages ago, but like most good MS ideas it was sat on until after Google went public with their beta, and looked like johnny-come-lately's).

And it wasn't just copycat work: it does things Google's does not, and after all Microsoft deserves some credit: they had the Mappoint-based MSN Maps and even Terraserver literally years before Yahoo and Google. Google as a company is only slightly older than Terraserver as a project.

I'm just saying- hate M$ all you want, but they deserve some credit here- they have a very good web "earth" product, it's free, and they had done work in this area years ahead of the allegedly less evil competitors.
posted by hincandenza at 8:54 PM on November 3, 2005


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