Google showed us a long time ago that it can dominate in search, but it’s taken a while for it to copy that dominance in the world of local or mapping, until now. Last week, for the first time according to Hitwise, Google Maps edged past MapQuest to become the online mapping tool with the most number of visits.
Google Maps became the most visited mapping site last week, topping off a gradual increase of usage which I believe can be tracked back to Google’s implementation of Google Maps in the search results via Plusbox, Onebox and other mapping integration. Furthermore, the mobile friendliness of Google Maps has to have something to do with this.
One interesting stat from Heather Dougherty at Hitwise is that although Google Maps had more visits than MapQuest, “the average visit time on MapQuest remained higher at 10 minutes and 51 seconds as compared to 7 minutes and 24 seconds on Google Maps.”
Can someone say usability issues?
MapQuest, although redesigned last year, is still chocked full of ads, frames and other design flaws which make the overall mapping experience a bit more difficult to navigate than Google Maps. Under AOL’s new CEO, former Googler Tim Armstrong, I’m sure some changes will be sent down the line, MapQuest really needs to keep hold of what they have. Problem is, MapQuest is also a symbol of the old Internet, when I think of MapQuest, I think of the pre-Google days and now that Google is so intertwined with my ordinary life, I use Google Maps without even thinking twice about going to another source for mapping needs. Why? Because I don’t have to navigate off the page, I just type a local query into my search box and Google takes care of everything for me.
Full Disclosure : I still use Yahoo Local to find local businesses and local business reviews. I love Yahoo Local and Yelp for this and will always do so until Google stops integrating data from numerous third party sources into its local business listings and takes a Yahoo style approach where they let Google users leave their business ratings, reviews and upload images for local businesses.