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Surprise: Yahoo Maps Gets A Facelift, New Features
Shortly after she became Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer declared (disappointingly) that she wasn’t going to invest in Local. It turns out that what she meant was she wasn’t going to go head-to-head with Google in Maps.
Her predecessor Carol Bartz had outsourced maps (to Nokia), and she wasn’t prepared to make a bunch of new investments in mapping infrastructure.
- Pedestrian and public transit routing
- New and improved aerial images, real-time traffic and Flickr photos (with weather)
- A design refresh for consistency with other Yahoo properties, with an edge-to-edge presentation that looks not unlike the newish Google Maps
The underlying data (and probably traffic/routing) come from Nokia-Here (the former NAVTEQ).
When it launched its new maps earlier this year Google eliminated the “search nearby” feature, which was one of the things I used most heavily on Google Maps. That feature is, however, available on Yahoo Maps, which might make me more inclined to use it.
Overall in my quick testing and comparison with Google Maps, the latter still has a superior search capability. It’s more forgiving and appears to have more data. I don’t know whether the underlying maps listings on Yahoo are entirely from Nokia-Here or from a combination of Nokia and Bing.
Regardless, I’m pleased to see Yahoo getting back in the maps/local game. There’s no Yahoo Maps app – you can access Yahoo Maps through the mobile browser – but I suspect we’ll see one in the future. That will be very interesting if, or perhaps when, it happens.