Yahoo Finds the Way With Its Own Maps
Yahoo is following its own direction.
The Internet giant announced late Thursday that it has developed its own software platform for offering maps and driving directions online, abandoning the service previously provided by MapQuest, which effectively becomes a Yahoo rival.
Launched last week, Yahoo Maps is integrated into nearly 20 of the company's Internet properties, including its real estate and phone directory Web sites. Changes to the service are mostly in the software and navigation features that power the system, and users shouldn't notice a difference, the company says.
"Basically, we moved Yahoo Maps in-house based on the fact that we wanted to have a lot more flexibility and control over how we use it," says Andrew Braccia, director of business development for Yahoo's listings division. Yahoo had employed the MapQuest service for close to four years, he adds.
"Yahoo Maps is a very core technology to the Yahoo network. When we have something that is that important, we want to make sure that we have control over it," he says.
Yahoo is at least the second major customer to take its online map service in-house at the expense of MapQuest, which is owned and operated by AOL Time Warner.
In addition to Yahoo's own in-house development, Yahoo Maps makes use of map databases provided by Navigation Technologies and Geographic Data Technology. Some of the software that runs the service was provided by Telcontar and Sagent Technology. The service has been under development since the second half of last year, Braccia says.
Yahoo, like other search engine sites that have evolved into portals, is looking to
That service is being made available through an agreement with enterprise service provider Divine, which recently purchased search and content assets from Northern Light Technology. However, Yahoo and its competitors are weighing whether their various new offerings are best provided through partnerships or through in-house resources.