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Most WW users will be on broadband so maybe don't realise what a pain G maps can be on dial up. (Even I get miffed sometimes on a high speed cable connection).
Remember that G maps load the squares that border on the visible ones, even more to load.
I'd have to say it screams out "look at what we can do with maps" rather than offering maps when they are requested.
Yep. This forces the user down a path that may not be the most conducive to their needs. If I wanted maps, I would have gone to maps.google.com.
If I'm searching for a plumber, I could care less about the map, they are coming to me. I care more about ratings and reviews, descriptions of service, etc.
Good implementation I've seen so far are:
Judy's Book maps - [maps.judysbook.com...]
(in my opinion they should push this page more)
[housingmaps.com...] and other similar mashups.
Why is it so useful?
- It gives a new perspective over the local data.
- It's easier and more fun to navigate and browse. Many people will also explore the maps just from curiosity. See [platial.com...] (I'd be happy to send screenshots from their beta, msg me).
- It saves clicks - u can see the relevant details (like reviews) in the bubble, instead of clicking each link
- If you are constantly on public wi-fi (laptop/PDA) - that's the preferred view to use.
- Moreover - Google maps remixed with local data are very powerfull for the wi-fi surfer.
- Not to mention tourists and movers to new places.
To conclude: everything is revealed, in a cool visual interactive framework.
Dialup users -> time to join the age of enlightment :)
(p.s. - I'm not affiliated with any of the sites mentioned).