Mountain View (CA) - Google has launched a new personalized touch to its online maps tool that allows users to create customized maps with specific locations and pictures.
The idea is to let users pinpoint specific landmarks and attach associated pictures to them. For example, a family could chart their cross-country trip on Google Maps and post an image of each location. Users can choose whether to make their maps public or private.
Maps can be customized by specifying the scale of the map, the order the landmarks appear in the sidebar, and even the design of the landmark icons on the map. Every user-created map can be toggled between map and satellite views.
Other map sites, including Yahoo Maps, have offered similar functionality and until now, was their main feature that differentiated them from Google Maps.
In the past, Google has customized its online maps service by creating specialized maps for events like the 2006 election and the World Cup. My Maps is effectively the same thing, bringing the customization feature to individual users for the first time.
The first official announcement came from Google's Frank Taylor at the official blog of the similar Google Earth service. He wrote, "The end result of this new update is that Google Maps and Google Earth are coming closer together in many respects."