AskCity – Embedded Maps, Re-Routing & Zip Code Search
Hit an embed link in the upper-right hand corner of any city.ask.com page and get an overlay on which you can change the size of the map and get the code for posting it to your website or blog.
Here’s a map on which I shamelessly and horrifically messed up the map of New York:
As you can see, the embedded map is just an image of the map, though with all the notations, drawing, search results and whatever else you add to it. The image links to the full map at Ask.com so users can navigate all of it there. Google’s implementation embeds an actual live map, which means you can use it create full-on mashups, unlike with Ask’s.
I’ve got to ask why Ask has Ask City and Ask Maps? They’re two seperate products, both with maps, one which searches businesses and one which does driving directions (though Ask City does that too, which is even more confusing). The two products share some of the same interface elements and clearly some of the same infrastructure, so why doesn’t Ask just combine them into one? Is there really a need for two products when one would be so less confusing?
Two other new features:
When you have directions, click adjust route and Ask City will insert a new waypoint for you in between the other two, sending you there first. In other words, you choose a start and end point, then you can add any places you want to go to in between, and it’ll send you to those places, then to your final destination. Not as fun to look at as Google Maps’ version of this feature, but more discoverable and more intuitive.
When searching by businesses, if you enter the business type and a zip code, it’ll draw the zip code on the map and show you all of those businesses within that zip code. Very convenient (and also a quick way to see your zip code boundaries.
* – Only an idiot would suggest Ask coded this in the last 20 days, though if they did, that’s impressive. My point is that Google beat them to it, not that they are copying.