Yahoo Inc. has upgraded its online mapping and driving directions service by borrowing two key features made popular by rival Google Inc.
The most noticeable improvements are how the site displays new maps without having to download another Web page, and the maps themselves now list local retailers, plus contact information and customer reviews. Both improvements are already an integral part of Mountain View, Calif.-based Googles online mapping.
Yahoos latest release, first available Wednesday night, is part of the tit-for-tat battle between Internet giants over online mapping, one of the most popular Internet features. In October, Google followed Yahoos lead by introducing a new online mapping service that combines elements of mapping with local search engines that connect consumers with nearby retailers or service providers.
The ever-changing face of online mapping features ultimately pressures America Online Inc.s MapQuest, the Webs most popular online mapping feature, and highlights the growing popularity of Internet-based maps, according to Greg Sterling, an analyst with The Kelsey Group.
"People wanted mapping to be more integrated in their search," Google product manager Bret Taylor said in an earlier interview. "This really changes the local search paradigm."