New Yahoo Maps kick ass with Flash

The new Yahoo! maps (released just over an hour ago) is amazing. The app is very smooth and slick, and makes heavy use of yahoo yellow-pages data. It’s integrated with real-time traffic info as well. The experience of dragging and dropping the map, and zooming in and out, is _nearly_ as smooth as google maps (hey for day one that is terrific. There’s lots of room for optimization with this kind of code).
Yahoo! is playing the fast follower game, and playing it well (see also an earlier post on the new Yahoo! email client). And they’re obviously thinking hard about using the right technology for the right job, rather than simply copying the google approach.

Minor gripes:
1) A typical Flash bug: Control X,C,V (for cut/copy/delete) don’t work in text areas (note to the Macromedia engineers who read this blog: can someone fix that? It’s really holding Flash back at this point).
2)I think the Flash YahooMaps is still consuming more compute cycles relative to the Ajax GoogleMaps. Less than a minute after launching yahoo maps, I noticed my PC’s fan turn on and stay on (I’ve never noticed this with GoogleMaps). It’s just a feeling, and I think it’s a common issue with complex Flash applications. I remember feedback from an early user of MindCanvas: “your website heated my computer up!!!”. Some optimizations took care of the problem, probably the same thing will happen here.
Thanks to tech crunch and webreakstuff for the heads up!

5 thoughts on “New Yahoo Maps kick ass with Flash

  1. John Dowdell November 3, 2005 / 3:55 am

    Copy/paste text is under authoring control:
    Keyboard shortcuts can be tricky, because by default the browser gets such events, and focus needs to first be explicitly transferred to the specific content (in this case SWF), usually by a click into the plugin screen area. It would be good to package up routines for the CMD/CTRL work… could you get the request logged with the team, please?
    CPU usage shouldn’t be an issue, intrinsically, but may be one practically due to any of several factors: the browser in use and its processor-allocating routines (from what I understand, FF/Mac is the most difficult now); authoring techniques (fast framerates or tight logical loops can hurt); what’s going on in the background (particularly with tabbed browsers). It can definitely happen, but should not be the norm.

  2. Jonathan Boutelle November 3, 2005 / 8:38 am

    You’re up late!
    Anyway, I’ve submitted the bug as you asked.
    Hopefully someone at MM will solve this problem … when using a Flash program to do “real” work, it’s one of the most frustrating things about Flash.

  3. Manu Sharma November 8, 2005 / 2:59 am

    Hey Jon — I have problems panning Yahoo maps over to Asia…keeps showing me grey screen for some reason. Tried a few times even with different browsers.
    Have you seen FlashEarth? I just saw it today for the first time and it bowled me over. I think it beats Yahoo Maps hands down. Zooming is much more smoother compared to Yahoo and I like the way the images settle down after they’re loaded. Love that it lets you rotate the map and that when you visit it after a while, it starts off where you left. Cool.
    Btw, just learnt that MindCanvas is released. Checking it out now. Seems exciting.

  4. Jonathan Boutelle November 9, 2005 / 7:41 am

    Yeah, I’m seen Flash Earth. It doesn’t do maps, it’s just satelite data, right? Therefore not that useful to me.
    Thanks for your kind words about MindCanvas. I’ts been a labor of love!

  5. Manu Sharma November 9, 2005 / 11:09 pm

    Yes, Flash Earth does only Satellite. There are no accurate street level map applications for India ( has some data on a few cities though) so I was only comparing satellite imagery.

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