Despite being far behind in features, MapQuest has been remarkably resilient in holding onto their market share. Google Maps continues to catch up, but is still below half of the market share that MapQuest is holding.
However, MapQuest continues to try to catch back up. Today they’ve released a new beta version of their site, and it’s certainly a step forward. The biggest change is that they’ve put a map directly on the home page, rather than forcing you to search or get directions. The map includes some useful layers (gas prices, traffic) and seems pretty solid.
Another nice change is the option of “copy and paste” address input. Rather than having to put each element in a separate field (address, city, state, zip), you can drop them in a single box (just like you already could on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft).
Maybe we can chalk it up to being beta, but even the basic map usage still lags behind the others. There are two basic functions that are missing:
- I can’t use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out.
- The zooms are hard breaks, rather than the smoother zoom used by Google and Microsoft.
As we’ve said before, it’s great to see them trying to catch back up. Is it too little, too late? Or will these kinds of steps be enough to hold onto their audience? They promise many more upgrades in coming months, so we’ll see what happens.