You probably could have guessed that this was on its way based on how Yahoo has been closly following behind Google on just about every new release. In addition, given the fact that Microsoft also has a similar tool makes this release even less surprising. Yahoo has released a click-and-drag version of their mapping tool very similar to Google Maps and Microsoft’s MSN Virtual Earth.
Of those three mapping tools, I still think I prefer Google. It (like most Google products) just has the cleanest interface and seems to work the smoothest. It’s a minor thing, but the new Yahoo Maps and Virtual Earth both have this blurry thing happen whenever you zoom in on an area while the new closer view loads. It really doesn’t affect the mapping ability or the contents of the map (I’m guessing that all the map data is preetty much the same), but like I said, it just feels clunkier compared to Google. The new Yahoo offering is also lacking satellite image views that both Google and MSN provide. I’m not sure if this is something they’re looking to provide in the future or not. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that pops up soon given how closely Yahoo has been following Google lately. I also wonder what this latest addition to the interactive map arena will do to Mapquest which used to be the de facto mapping site on the internet. When compared to any of these interactive mapping tools, Mapquest just looks sad. No click and drag? Yeesh! How 1990’s! Mapquest definitely has branding going for it. It’s almost become a verb in the way that people will “google” for a topic, or “tivo” a tv show. I just don’t know how much longer that’s going to last them without the interactivity that Google, MSN, and now Yahoo are providing. So unless there are some major features added, or some super slick new interface, I think I’ll stick with my Google Maps for now.