Google Maps or Live Search
For the longest time Google Maps and Windows Live Search have been clashing for title of best map software. In my experience both have been very useful tools in my everyday life. The funny thing is that after I went through each of them extensively, I concluded that both are needed in order to be productive.
Windows Live excels in category search. With a simple address Live will recommend local bars, clubs, and restaurants in your vicinity. Then once you found your local restaurant or movie theater you can check reviews on it, get directions to it, or send that address to a friend to meet up for the date. Easy access to gas prices in the local area and movie info make it that much more useful. My favorite is showing up to the theaters and using Live Search to check info and ratings before we head in. Then again there are some features such as my location and faster maps that Windows Live Search lacks.
Google maps makes up where Windows Live Search misses. Need faster maps? Googles got it. Need the ability get an approximate location? Googles got it. For me it
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1) I find the search results in Google Maps to be very sporadic(!) I might be searching for a specific store and get results for something entirely unexpected and irrelevant. I would prefer that Live tell me that there are no matches and start a new search than have GMaps give me what it considers the closest match. This is also where categories prove their worth. I know I will get a relevant list of matches when using category search, even if I can't spell Starrbux. :)
2) Live Search has very robust custom searches for movies and gas prices. These are very well implemented and show what WM is capable of when the proper programming effort and desire is applied.
3) I don't find GMaps to be "3 times faster than Live Search" on my Treo 700wx. WLS may be a tad slower but it's not very noticeable.
4) Live Search returns residential listings as well. So I can make it to Uncle Joe's house whether or not I have him in my contacts list.
5) Live Search stores a long list of recent "locations." Google Maps has a very short list by comparison.
6) Live Search does a better job of interpreting contact addresses. I find GMaps to be surprisingly sensitive to details. (It did not recognize a contact address listed as "117-25" but found the location when I manually entered the address as "11725"). Live Search also filters out irrelevant information much better. (So if I have "Starrbux - A-train to 14th" as a contact title, Live will find the corresponding address while GMaps won't)
I have been a WLS user for months now. In that time, I have tried GMaps a few times after reading glowing reviews but always ended up uninstalling it after a few days. I must admit that most comparisons I have read are weighted heavily in GMaps favor, which leads me to wonder whether I am using the correct version of the program. Time and again, I grab the latest version of GMaps and end up uninstalling it.
Downside on the Live is putting in an address never yields a result. I dont care that it cant find the name of the business just put the flag on the map. Also maps are slower to load.
I'm with Skfny, Live Search is much, much better
- voice recognition is fantastic (with a chance of voice notifications coming)
- Turn-by-turn is much better for driving
- GPS live tracking is better
- more features overall
- full screen maps (I mean...duh!)
I dunno, I just find GMaps plain and boring with no real value. But it's good to have choices ;-)