Google Maps has long been considered the gold standard for mapping services, despite the heavy competition from Bing and countless others. Between Street View, Google Earth, and the amazing turn-by-turn navigation found on Android, it’s hard to imagine the service getting any better. Obliviously Google would disagree with me however, and are getting ready to release “the next dimension” on June 6th at 12:30 PM ET.
There are few services on the internet today more ubiquitous than Google Maps. Originally designed to be downloaded by users as a desktop application, it quickly became a web-based service once the company that gave birth to it was acquired by Google in 2004. By 2005, the user-friendly mapping solution was a household name. Six years later, developers are still discovering new ways to leverage the venerable mapping service to produce more information and expand its functionality, making an already awesome free service even better. To show you what we’re talking about, we’ve put together a list of our ten favorite tips and uses for Google Maps. Some come from Google, others from third-party developers. All of them are awesome.
Lo-Jack schmojack. You don't need some spendy GPS unit and to keep tabs on that new Escalade. Uplinking your wheels to the great eye in the sky without breaking the bank is easier than you think.
Standalone GPS units can cost hundreds. And that's not counting the installation and (frequently hefty) activation and monthly fees associated with whatever service you do choose. For most of us, it's overkill. The good news is that if you happen to have a GPS-equipped phone lying around, you can rig your own vehicle tracking system for virtually nothing. Here's how it's done...
Let’s just assume that you prefer not to trust the big G with your data. Where are you supposed to go for your online mapping needs? As it turns out, Bing Maps is a perfectly acceptable alternative. With the most recent update, it’s gotten potentially even more useful thanks to the addition of about 6.7 million square kilometers of aerial imagery.
We’ve always had a fondness for Bing’s visual style, which is frankly more polished than Google Maps. It is a bit slower than Google, but that’s just a small tradeoff. The aerial and bird’s eye views are some of the coolest features, and we expect they’ve been helped by the addition of all that image data. The vast majority of the new data is for the aerial view (a top down angle). There’s much less for the bird’s eye view (an oblique angle). It’s good to see Microsoft continuing to invest in their Bing Maps, but is anyone really using it over Google? If you prefer Bing Maps, let us know why in the comments.
Back in July Google Maps added the ability to directly view real estate listings. In the mean time Google has added some new features to make this facility easier to use, including brand new high-resolution Street View imagery (so you can see what slobs your potential neighbors might be), and more detailed map data.
In addition, the real estate listings are now easier to find. And not just real estate for sale, but rentals and foreclosures as well. (Nothing like making a buck on the misfortune of others, is there.) According to the Google Lat Long Blog, “you can simply select "Real Estate" from the 'More' button on the top right of any Google Map to discover listings. From there, it's a simple matter to refine your search using the left hand panel - price, bedrooms, bathrooms, and so on.” You can hunt down real estate in the Untied States, Australia, New Zealand and India. (India?)
I’d like to report back how well Google Maps new real estate search feature works, but, as the image below shows, the referred to “Real Estate” option under the “More” button is pretty obviously absent.