MapQuest or variations on its name represent five of the top 22 search queries in the travel category (in November) according to Hitwise. However Google Maps is solidly in first place now as the top mapping site online. That puts MapQuest in the position of having to figure out whether to be content with its second place position or do some things to try and regain the lead.
It’s not clear whether MapQuest could regain the lead; however, the company has introduced a number of features and upgrades recently in a bid to improve the look and functionality of the site:
- 360 View: street-level imagery
- Upgrades to the appearance of maps on the site
- Mobile maps improvements
- Expanded category based searching
Now MapQuest is adding 700,000 more business listings, user ratings and other content from Citysearch:
Now you’ll find more than 700,000 new and informative business listings nationwide in popular search categories such as restaurants, hotels, shopping, spas, bars, clubs and more through our partnership with Citysearch. In addition to more listings, you’ll also find greater editorial content for each business including restaurant menus, coupons and special offers, business hours, and customer ratings and reviews, so you can search, research, and of course, get a map or directions to get there.
Part of this information has been there for some time, but this is a formal announcement of an expanded content relationship with Citysearch:
In addition, MapQuest Local remains an innovative and under-appreciated product. I fear AOL will do little to promote it, however, and that eventually it will be shuttered for lack of usage.
It was rumored that MapQuest might be for sale; however that appears to no longer be true. More recently I speculated that eventually MapQuest would outsource mapping to Bing, while retaining the MapQuest brand and traffic. However projects such as 360 argue against the notion that MapQuest will “sub-out” the back end to Microsoft.
Regardless MapQuest needs to reduce the number of “boxes” or search fields on the site to make it more competitive with Google.