Say what you will about the quality of some of Google’s recent product releases (and I usually say a lot of bad things), Google Maps is simply da bomb. This tool has quietly created a programming and usability revolution on the Web.
First, for programmers, Google Maps ushered in the “AJAX” era. Now I’m not a programmer, so I don’t exactly know what AJAX is, but I can tell you that any site that enables you to interact with data without having to refresh your page or run a new search is probably using AJAX. In addition to Google Maps, check out Amazon Diamond Search and travel site Kayak.com.
Moreover, you are also seeing “Web Mashups” sprouting up with Google Maps smack-dab in the middle of their usability and functionality. A great example is Trulia which uses Google Maps to help searchers compare homes for sale in a particular location. In fact, Trulia loves Google Maps so much that they apparently modeled their logo after the Google Maps icons!
And Trulia is just the tip of the iceberg. Every day, tons of start-ups and big companies are finding novel applications for Google Maps. I found a great blog that attempts to keep track of these – Google Maps Mania. Among the wild and wacky things you can do with Google Maps:
- Track the International Space Station
- Dig to the Other Side of the Earth
- Take a Tour of Locations Mentioned in The Sopranos
- Find Out Where Sex Offenders Live
- Find Local Dog Parks
- And Even Play Games (some scavenger hunts)
This is just a few of the thousands of companies currently using Google Maps as the basis to build some cool application.
Anyway, let’s give credit where credit is due – Kudos to Google for building such a neat and useful application!
Tags: googlemaps, ajax, mashups, google, trulia
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