Hate the New Google Maps Update? Here Are Five Alternatives
“Eww! What in the world is this?!”
If that was your reaction after laying eyes on the new desktop version of Google Maps announced Wednesday, then you should be happy to learn that there are several online alternatives that work great.
So, if you’re really interested in moving on from Google Maps, pack your travel bag and allow us to be your guide to finding a map service more your style. (We’re not going to include Yahoo Maps, which, like us, is made by Yahoo, but that’s good, too.)
Here are our picks. Don’t forget to use the restroom before we leave.
Microsoft’s foray into mapping is probably the most like Google Maps, so it’s certainly worth trying if you’re looking for a replacement. The site uses Bing to search for nearby food, coffee, retail and other services. (During our tinkering with Bing Maps, we learned that there are a good number of pizza places in NYC, as pictured above. Who knew?)
Some things we like about using Bing Maps, besides the search abilities: (a) You can sign into your Microsoft account to save places and frequent points of interest, (b) the Bird’s Eye view is gorgeous and (c) Streetside is a formidable Google Maps Street View competitor. Downside: We did notice the lack of bicycle navigation.
MapQuest is the elder statesman of the Internet mapping world, launched way back in 1996. Nowadays, the site is packed with links to travel companies and services of that ilk, which can be handy if you’re looking for things like hotel accommodations or a car to rent. But behind it all, MapQuest is still a very capable mapping service.
You can explore in satellite or traditional map mode, view real-time traffic conditions (complete with live camera views) or pop in a destination to get detailed driving, biking, transit or walking directions. And, unlike Google Maps, sending your directions to your car’s Garmin GPS unit is fairly simple: Just download a plug-in, hook it up to your computer via USB and click the Send button in the top-right side of the map.
Google bought Waze to incorporate its social network service into Google Maps, which helps you navigate routes that skirt poor traffic conditions. But, by visiting the Waze desktop site, you can instead use Waze and skirt Google Maps.