Quick score card of Google Maps vs. MSN Vitural Earth. Gives the edge to Google Maps for acurate overlay of roads.
- Google Maps highlights the street names and highways clearer as shown above using their new â€œhybridâ€ view (+1 GM)
- MSN Virtual Earth calls the spot to return to the map a permalink and Google Maps says â€œlink to this page.â€ I think Google will win out with the non-geek/blogger audience with this term (+1 GM)
- In Google Maps, I put â€œSafeco field, Seattle, WAâ€ and was treated to a red pin of where Safeco Field was located. I put Safeco Field in in â€œWhatâ€ in the MSN Virtual Earth and it returned â€œno results foundâ€ even though you can clearly see the words â€œSafeco Fieldâ€ on the map above. I then tried the same thing as GM using the â€˜whereâ€™ field and same thing: â€œno results found.â€ So if Iâ€™m a baseball fan in Seattle and want to find Safeco Field, how do I do it using Virtual Earth? I did find if I put the keyword â€œbaseballâ€ in the â€˜whatâ€™ field then that immediately put a red â€˜1â€² next to Safeco Field. Think Iâ€™ll call this one a draw because GMâ€™s map to keyword function seems a little more intuitive, but VEâ€™s makes it clearer to see and allows narrowing searches within the current map which could be really handy if you know the general vicinity of something, but donâ€™t know where on the map it actually is located. I also tried the keyword â€œbaseball, seattle waâ€ in Google Maps and it returned a bunch of results in the greater Seattle area, Safeco Field among them. (DRAW)
- Next I tried getting directions from Puyallup, WA where our office is located to Seattle, WA in both VE and GM. In VE when I chose â€œDrive Toâ€ it took me to maps.msn.com. It prefilled the location of Safeco Field which was on my last search as the end point. All I needed to add was Puyallup, WA and it returned detailed driving directions with a green highlight showing the path. Unfortunately, it wasnâ€™t tied to the Virtual Earth map, unlike GM which simply gave me two fields: â€œStart addressâ€ and â€œEnd addressâ€ when I clicked on the â€œDirectionsâ€ link. Everything stayed on the same page and it used AJAX to pull in the location without any page reload. Again, GM edges VE in more simpler UI (GM +1).
- My last task was to find bowling alleys in Puyallup, WA and the surrounding areas. I typed â€œbowlingâ€ in the â€˜whatâ€™ and â€œpuyallup, WAâ€ in the â€˜whereâ€™ in VE and immediately it rapidly returned the results in Puyallup and the surrounding area. The only problem is it didnâ€™t return Daffodil Bowl which is in downtown Puyallup. I tried the same search in GM using the â€œLocal Searchâ€ link and Daffodil Entertainment Center (see, no â€œbowlingâ€ in the title) was the first result returned (GM +1)
- Overall speed of both programs is a DRAW, except when it comes to mapping as mentioned above, which I already gave a point to Google in that department. VE suffers from not having better integration with their very clear and superior satellite view.
- Overall intuitiveness of GM vs. VE, I would give to Google Maps (GM +1). I found it easier to use and more intuitive than MSN Virtual Earth. If it only had better graphics and clarity, it would be the clear champion between the two.
- Overall graphics and clarity VE wins because the satellite view is bigger and cleaner (VE +1).