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A New Yahoo Guide

Yahoo Local Maps depicts road congestion with icons: a yellow triangle for a traffic problem, green dots for smooth sailing.
Yahoo Local Maps depicts road congestion with icons: a yellow triangle for a traffic problem, green dots for smooth sailing.
I evaluated the new beta of Yahoo Local Maps, which uses Adobe's Flash technology. It definitely improves on the original version, with a friendlier interface and better organization. The new site also lets you create routes with multiple stops, a feature that none of its competitors offer.

A 'View traffic on map' option uses colored dots to represent current traffic speeds on major roads and highways, but the feature was not always accurate. In my tests, it indicated that traffic at the toll plaza of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge was light at a time of day when Web-connected traffic cameras clearly showed a long, slow backup.

The site accurately found specific addresses, but in my test for directions, it pulled the same two-route trick as Windows Live Local did. And while the site's Flash underpinnings support some new tricks (for example, as you mouse over text directions, the corresponding portions of the route are highlighted on the map), they preclude the sort of right-click features found in Windows Live Local.

Points-of-interest listings were up-to-date and nicely organized by distance from the current location. Registered Yahoo users can save favorite locations.

Bottom line: Yahoo's site earns the most-improved trophy; it's the best choice for point-to-point-to-point directions.

At a Glance
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