Google Beefs up Maps with Points of Interest

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Google Maps is an immersive online experiences when it comes to travel, but if you're scouting a foreign city and are not sure where to go, you were previously left to heed the words of a guidebook. Google wants to change all that. Points of interest in major cities were added to Google Maps yesterday, filling out the service with even more reasons never to visit MapQuest again.

When you zoom in on a major city, you'll notice new etches on the canvas. Some of them are coffee shops, major retail chains, historical monuments, and state parks. (As you can see from the picture, Boston doesn't have a hell of a lot going for it; click the thumbnail to see a larger version of the sparse map.) When you click on one of these icons, an informational balloon opens up, giving you description, directions, links, and more.

This service is great for discovering new haunts, whether you're visiting or have planted into a lease. For instance, I scoped out my new neighborhood for places to visit and discovered there are none. Looks like I need to move again.

Google will undoubtedly add more landmarks to more cities as time goes on. Let's hope it doesn't go buck-wild and crowd the map with too many interesting nubs, lest you can no longer read street names through the jumble.

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