Google Maps has added new social features to their My Maps initiative which lets viewers and users of those maps connect socially with the creators of those maps and other viewers via YouTube-esque comments, ratings and top links (from blogs and sites linking to the maps).
The social additions are an excellent touch which will give Google My Maps more of a neighborhood style feel which we are used to seeing in Yahoo Local, while adding more discussion and group editing or recommendation functionality to the overall mapping project, ala “Hey, you forgot to add this restaurant!” or “That one place closed down.”
Google My Maps top links is interesting, as the Map will serve organic links (don’t seem to use No Follow) back to the sites which referred the most users to the maps.
You’ll also find a top links section that shows which websites and blogs are referring traffic to the map. If you’re curious about where your map’s huge number of views have been coming from, just check out your referrals.
At the Google Lat Long Blog, Google Maps shows this San Diego Wildfire Map as its example, with multiple comments and outbound links.
Another example is this Open Collaboration European Travel Tips map, which anyone can add to, bringing a Wiki-type functionality to the My Maps project (more on Google Maps Open Collarboration).