Google Maps came out late last night, and these are my notes on having played with it for just a few moments.

Zawodny says goodbye to Mapquest… I’m not so sure:

Love the map appearance – no more stick lines like mapquest or yahoo – google’s lines are smooth and look more ‘real’ to me.

Love the “stick-pins” and detail bubbles that seem to float above the map and cast shadows down onto it.

Love the accuracy – google gets my work address right, when nobody else does, and my home address is almost right, too.

Love the drag & move functionality, and +/- zoom.

Hate that I can’t easily make an image of the map on screen, or I’d quickly replace all of work’s maps with these images. Might still do it with links to get driving directions easily… need to read up on the licensing. Why isn’t that right on the page?

Hate that there’s not an easily usable list of recent searches I can pull up again, or link between for driving directions.

The driving directions are ok, but the step by step image option isn’t obvious (you have to click on the direction #), and not easily printable, either.

The printable version of the driving directions doesn’t highlight the route, or print turn-by-turn images in the instructions. Damn, I miss those.

I like Microsoft Streets & Trips’ option to customize your driving style (faster/slower than posted limits) to tweak the drive time estimates. That’d be nice here.

Overall it’s the best looking free-for-use system I’ve seen, but there’s sufficient drawbacks that keep it from being my outright favorite. I’ll probably look at it for personal use, but for professional use I’ll stick to Mapquest for now.

Nice version 1 though, Google.

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  1. Regarding printing. You do get the route highlight if you print in IE, but I try to avoid IE. It doesn’t show up in Firefox, and I still can’t find a way to print the turn-by-turn directions.

    The simplicity of getting directions though, is pretty cool. “48187 to 48184” is all you have to type to get from one zip to another.

  2. Just played with for a few minutes. The interface isn’t as nice as Google, but it’s still interactive and engaging. It’s just not as user friendly. But I’m making this comment most of all because I’ve finally found a map service that actually produces a route from home to work that reflects the route I actually take!

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