Yahoo Maps has announced a range of improvements. These include expanded global coverage, including better data and coverage of Eastern Europe; and, in the US, more “granular” neighborhood data for 300 cities and 12,000 neighborhoods. Functionality has been improved as well. Tiles are “lighter” for faster load times, colors and styles have been adjusted, and there are several other visual improvements.
Yahoo virtually invented dynamic mapping, but in the past year or so it has ceded much of the innovation to Google and Microsoft, which have both poured millions into advanced mapping features.
My single biggest complaint about Yahoo Maps is the multiple search boxes. There are three: two for location and then routing, and a third for finding businesses and other points of interest. I think this creates confusion and isn’t very intuitive. In some respects, the old mapping product is easier to use, except for the fact that it’s not searchable.
I’m glad to see Yahoo continue to make improvements in its mapping product, but I would like to see fewer boxes on the map. Microsoft, for example, has gone to a single search box, which Google also leads with.
Separately, Yahoo has a cool and relatively new product in MapMixer, which is for user-generated maps. In many ways, for more than some of the most advanced mapping features, getting more users to create maps is the next frontier for online mapping.