Yahoo’s online mapping service in the United States began giving driving directions in 34 European countries on May 17, 2007, as part of an upgrade aimed at luring traffic away from rivals AOL and Google.
Besides guiding U.S. motorists around Europe for the first time, Yahoo said it also will feature more landmarks and other visual cues to help people find their way around neighborhoods. By relying on new software, Yahoo believes its maps will be more accurate, too.
The Sunnyvale, Calif. based company is hoping the improvements can help reverse recent erosion in its share of the online mapping market.
In April, AOL’s industry-leading Mapquest service attracted 49.2 million U.S. visitors, a 3 percent increase from last year, while traffic to Google’s maps surged 49 percent to 30.8 million visitors, according to comScore Media Metrix.
Meanwhile, U.S. traffic to Yahoo maps declined 5 percent to 29.4 million.
Although they are free services, the online maps have become important advertising vehicles, particularly for local merchants.
To check out a view from Yahoo Maps, view the picture below which shows a more in depth look at traffic conditions for any given area of larger cities and smaller cities soon.
To try out Yahoo Maps go to maps.yahoo.com.