Yesterday Ask launched an improved version of UK Maps in a bid to get more users of the utility in the UK.

I am not too familiar with the pitfalls of version 1.0 but according to Ask’s press release the new system accounts for the US-english vs UK-english language barrier (i.e. an ‘exit’ on a motorway is considered a ‘junction’ in the UK). The other improvements included:

  • Receive driving directions for up to ten different destinations at one time. In other words, plan your driving route for an entire day of errands – pretty cool.
  • It now includes walking directions.
  • “Landmark Assistance” is included which, I presume, allows you to find your way to particularly popular points of interest; this would be quite handy on a holiday!
  • Subway stations are marked for those who wish to get around a little quicker.
  • Curious about how everything might look in a particular location? Try the satellite view which will give you a decent photo view of the surroundings.
  • Satellite shots are available for purchase on the fly… odd but okay.
  • If you search for any UK city within Ask Search you will be presented with a myriad of city details including hot spots, links to maps, tips, etc.

All-in-all I feel I should reiterate that Ask really has the right approach… be the best you can be at your particular niches and you will get noticed. I think Ask is playing the sure and steady approach and I believe that will steadily grab marketshare as long as they don’t play any more ridiculous commercials 😛

Here is a great comment that Ask received from what is definitely a winning response to this new version:

Oh yes, I’d like to congratulate you on your maps.

I’ve never used before seriously, aside from just testing out one or two things; but that was until I found your maps had walking directions.

For me, someone who doesn’t own a car and travels mostly by foot or public transport, this was a really nice feature – and one that works well.

So congratulations; you’ve done good with this maps malarky and I’ll be using your map service from hereonin.

One thing I would like to see, but this would be a harrowingly long and tedious job, is to see a mapping system that recognises subways and narrow paths. This route suggested by Ask, for example, would be much quicker if you nipped under the subway.

Ask Launches Improved UK Maps” by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.