Yahoo Satellite Maps Feature Takes Off

Google Earth and Google Local get some vivid competition from new Yahoo mapping, travel and shopping offerings.

Yahoo introduced two new features April 11, one being Yahoo Maps, which uses satellite imagery and appears to compete directly with offerings from Google and Microsoft.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., companys other new feature is FareChase, a travel information and shopping search engine.

Both FareChase and Yahoo Maps, a beta effort, are part of the usual tit-for-tat features warfare between Yahoo and its search rivals, Google and Microsofts MSN.

Yahoo and Google derive virtually all of their revenues from placing ads next to search results, so the search companies constantly tinker with new features to draw in a larger audience for advertisers.

/zimages/1/28571.gifYahoo last updated its mapping feature in November with other Google-like features. Read more here.

Comparative travel planning engines such as Yahoos FareChase are a relatively new offering for Internet search providers. However, Google has been quietly testing a travel and classifieds feature.

Competition from such big names as Google and Yahoo is sure to pressure incumbents in the online fare comparison industry.

As to satellite imagery on the Internet, Google was the innovator with its Google Maps, which has inspired hundreds of different mashups with other applications. But Yahoos mapping feature, at 20 million unique visitors a month, tops Googles traffic.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead more here about Google Maps satellite features.

Yahoo may appear to be following Googles lead when it comes to using satellite imagery, but Paul Levine, Yahoos general manager of local services, said Yahoo has advantages elsewhere in its product portfolio.

"Over the past year, weve launched a dizzying array of new innovations in local search and mapping. Its been these innovations that have helped us maintain No. 1 lead in the mapping space."

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