Yahoo goes for Flash

Amid all the buzz about Web 2.0 services run by AJAX, such as Google Maps and Microsoft’s new Windows Live , it’s interesting to see that Yahoo has gone with Flash for its new and improved Yahoo Maps site. But is it better than Google Maps? There seems to be some debate on that, with some saying they like it better and others complaining that it’s slower to refresh and harder to use. I thought Yahoo’s version looked a little better in terms of the user interface than Google’s, and it was also quicker to update the map when I zoomed in on key spots, such as the Rouge River marsh near Pickering, Ontario, which I run and bicyle past every morning. Dragging the map around seemed slower on Yahoo than on Google, but Yahoo had some cool features, such as a draggable zoom window.

Although he gets into the useability a bit in his discussion of Yahoo’s maps, Robert Scoble of Microsoft spends most of his time talking about how both Yahoo Maps and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth are “doomed.” Why? Not because of the interface, he says, but because of how Google markets both its services and its open API — which allows others to create “mash-ups” and add-ons that enhance the value of the company’s map service. I think this is a good point. It’s not so much what you do, but how you do it, and what happens to it after you release it into the wild, so to speak. Google seems to get that better than others — so far at least.

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