MapQuest, the popular navigation tool for driving directions and other routing applications has finally launched a Beta Web 2.0 version built on Ajax technology. MapQuest needed to make this urgent upgrade in order to compete with the big competitive tycoons and to avoid the possibility of losing share in the map world. Judging by the features illustrated on their blog; it seems to be that the features are still lagging behind biggies like Google Maps and Yahoo Maps. For instance, the new version does not provide satellite and map views simultaneously, nor does it have traffic overlay, street view, draggable routes, custom maps and transit mapping.
However, the features offered are quite an improvement from the previous outdated version and they do, in fact command a larger market share than these two giants, which is quite commendable. Most people would assume that Google with its brand quality would have surpassed MapQuest in traffic, but traffic numbers do not always reflect popular perception and vice-versa. MapQuest users must definitely be appreciating the core value of the direction tool and are returning favor with considerable loyalty.
Personally, I use MapQuest because the search options allow users like myself to search while omitting toll routes. Google, I believe must be advertising for toll routes, as it displays toll routes often even though non-toll routes are readily accessible. Anyhow, simple practicality and user loyalty can sometimes outweigh the benefits of a massive repertoire of features.
Click here for MapQuest Beta