GOOGLE MAPS

We’ve written about Google maps before, but a new addition gives you the power to customize your own. 

You can select a city or a neighborhood, for example, and mark the sights, inns and restaurants you think others might like to visit. These maps can be sent to friends and colleagues or posted to the web for anyone to browse. You get them by clicking the “my maps” tab at http://maps.google.com.

Google recently added “public transit” to their maps. You can click on “get directions” for getting from point to point and if there are public transit connections, they will show you how to get there the easy way. They have integrated transit maps for over 40 cities in the USA and 17 others around the world, and you can view them on most cell phones. They even include schedules. We looked for an easy way downtown without having to drive, and the map showed us where we could get an express bus. It also informed us the next bus was leaving in two minutes. (Oops, gotta run.)

Finally, a few words about people who aren’t happy about Google’s street views: Google provides hundreds of thousands of photos and videos that show what many addresses and landmarks look like when seen from street level. This is both useful and interesting but some individuals, and even a whole town in Minnesota, have sued Google for invasion of privacy because they did not give their permission to be in the photos. Tough bananas as we used to say in school. There are video cameras mounted all over cities and towns these days and they film traffic, potential crime scenes, weather and news events. No one gave permission for these videos and anyone might be in them at any time. We don’t see these complaints winning any court judgments.

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