Google Maps

Yesterday I sniped at Google with my No NoFollow post, but today I'm here to praise Google. The technology that powers Google Maps is so very cool, and the very best thing about it, in my opinion, is that Google lets us use that technology right on our very own web sites!

It used to be, for the average website owner, there was no easy, non-copyright-infringing way to display a map on a web site. Typically, the easiest solution was to link out to MapQuest or Yahoo, sending visitors away from the web site. Unauthorized use of map screenshots was rampant.

But Google Maps changed all that. On a site currently in development for an operator of whale-watching tours, I'm displaying a hybrid satellite/map of the Silver Bank of the Dominican Republic. Site visitors can pan and zoom the map themselves. Little pushpin markers show where the Silver Bank is and indicate the departure point for the tours. Google recently added an option to display the little overview map in the bottom right corner, too, so that you can have a close-up view while still giving the perspective of a larger-scale map. All this, without leaving the web site in question.

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