Archives for Josh Babetski

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  1. The Web is a constantly evolving place. People communicate and share in different ways now than they did just a few years ago and they have more tools and complex needs for the services they use. In response, MapQuest has been adapting and evolving as well.

    Route Planner

    Today we’re happy to announce the release of MapQuest Route Planner. This new tool will allow you to quickly create and optimize your trips.

    Find your Fastest and Shortest Route  with MapQuest Route Planner

    You’ve been able to re-order stops on MapQuest for years, but Route Planner offers much more:

    • Multiple ways to input addresses:
      • Upload a CSV or XLS file
      • Copy/Paste
      • Manually enter addresses one at a time
    • With 1-click, optimize your trip by reordering stops by time or distance
    • Ability to add notes to each location

    Route Planner is powerful enough for business users (e.g. real estate agents, sales reps, delivery reps, etc), but intuitive and easy-to-use for anyone with a lot of places to go!

    Share To

    Last month, we added a new way to share your Maps, Directions, and Searches with Facebook. We’ve recently also made it easier for you to ‘Share to’ via Twitter, Delicious, email and hundreds of other services, powered by our friends at AddThis.

    Share Maps and Directions to Facebook, Twitter and other  Social Networks

    How Share To Works:

    1. Go to a Maps, Directions, or Search page
    2. On the toolbar near the top of the page, you’ll see there are a few new icons in the “Share to” section next to the recently added Facebook icon:
      Twitter
      Starts a tweet containing a link to the MapQuest page you’re sharing
      Delicious
      Save and share a bookmark of the current MapQuest page
      Email
      Emails a link to the MapQuest page to your friend/colleague
      AddThis
      This opens a menu giving you access to hundreds of other sharing and bookmarking services

    What Else?

    Route Planner and Share To are just a few of many useful features we’ve added recently. Here’s a quick summary of what else we’ve been up to:

    As always, stay tuned to our blog for the latest announcements from MapQuest.

  2. Sharing is a big part of being connected on the Web. We share links over IM, tweet random thoughts on Twitter and share a little bit of everything on Facebook. Today we’re sharing that we have added a new feature on MapQuest to make it simple to share maps, directions and places to your Facebook friends.

    Share to Facebook on MapQuest.com

    Share to Facebook will allow you to post a note, small map and descriptive link on your Facebook wall right from MapQuest.com. So, in addition to letting your friends know that you’re headed to a concert later this week or sharing pictures from your latest trip, you can now also use Facebook to share some helpful location information.

    Share to Facebook Pop-up Bubble on MapQuest.com

    Here’s how you use it:

    1. Get a MapQuest Map, Directions, or Search
    2. Click the Facebook Share icon
    3. Log into Facebook and authorize MapQuest to post to your Facebook Wall
    4. Add a note
    5. Click ‘Publish’ to post it to Facebook

    It’s not a complicated feature, but it is another example of how MapQuest is evolving and responding to the changing ways people share information (location-related and otherwise) online. Now get out there and share!

  3. Did you know that you can send locations to your OnStar-equipped car using the aptly named “Send to OnStar” feature on MapQuest.com?

    The OnStar Channel at YouTube has a short video demonstrating and explaining how MapQuest and OnStar integrate to help you plan ahead for trips.


  4. Vote for our PanelPicker Ideas!

    One of our favorite events of the year is the SXSW Interactive festival. Austin, Texas is a great town to assemble thousands of creative and technical people from all over the world. The conference isn’t until March of next year, but already planning has begun. This brings us to the subject of today’s post.

    Unlike most shows, the public vote weighs heavily on what speaking panels get selected. MapQuest is jazzed to be involved in two of the panels up for voting in the Panel Picker.

    Here’s the panels we’re involved with:

    Time + Social + Location. What’s Next In Mobile Experiences?

    As more devices become location aware, social uses will continue to evolve beyond just who and what, to WHEN. Adding the temporal dimension creates new opportunities for social interaction. Learn about ways to leverage and use technology to add features at the intersection of temporal, social, and location.

    We’re happy to be collaborating on this panel with some talented experts from innovative companies in the areas of social, temporal, and location. In addition to myself, the panelists for this session will be:

    Brady Becker
    Founder and EVP of Creative for Brightkite
    Tyler Bell
    Head of Product for Yahoo! Geo, Geo Technologies
    Gregory Cypes
    Business Development and Principal Software Engineer for AIM
    Ryan Sarver
    Product Manager of Platform for Twitter
    Andrew Turner
    CTO of FortiusOne / GeoCommons

    Social Breadcrumbing – Tying Networks Together by Phone

    The integration of location-based services, phones and social networks is increasingly common. But how does this enhance the lives of users and improve their actual experiences on sites? Learn about the unique ways that sites are utilizing these services to upgrade their data and promote greater sharing among users.

    Organized by our Mobile Technical Manager: Chip Millson, this panel will go deep into the impact and opportunities of data sharing and location-based services.

    Vote

    We’re excited about these discussions almost as much as we’re excited to get some Texas BBQ. Please visit the 2010 SXSW PanelPicker and give us a “Thumbs Up” if you’re interested in checking out these talks. There are also over 2000 other panels to vote on. Take some time to vote on some other great panel ideas as well.

    Thanks and see you in Austin!

  5. Tour Tracker on MapQuest LocalI’ve been making plans for the annual pilgrimage to Austin, TX for SXSW Interactive. Austin is also the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Being a former resident, I can attest to this.

    So to help me find concerts while I’m in town and to help you find concerts wherever you may go, this morning we released a Tour Tracker widget on MapQuest Local. MapQuest Local is already part of my “where to go, what to do” toolbox, both on my desktop and on my iPhone. As a music-lover, being able to find what concerts are coming to town is helpful. That’s what Tour Tracker does.

    The Tour Tracker widget allows you to sort upcoming concert listings by date and music genre near your current location. You can also get a map or directions to the concert venue and you can hop over to AOL Music for tickets and additional information about the show.

    It’s all happening… on MapQuest Local.

  6. You may think of MapQuest just as a maps site, but with all the features we’ve added over the last year, we’re branching out to be a travel resource for millions of consumers. Users are finding valuable services such as our Gas Prices site or finding out what’s going on around them using our Local site to enhance their overall travel experience. Whether they’re finding what’s nearby home or what to do at their far-away destination, more MapQuest users are using us for a variety of valuable travel features.

    As proof of the popularity of our expanded resources, Hitwise, a leading online intelligence service, recently presented MapQuest with awards in the Travel-Maps category. Every quarter, Hitwise recognizes the 10 most popular websites in over a 160 categories.

    For the forth quarter of 2008, MapQuest is proud to have earned three awards:

    The Hitwise Top 10 Award Program is based on popularity according to the market share of user visits a website receives compared to other websites in their industry during a specific period.

  7. Twitter

    When our team set out to build MapQuest Local, we wanted it to be very different than the “local experience” found historically online. One of our early objectives was to make MapQuest Local more social – connect people and ideas in a local area together.

    Today we’ve released a new social widget on MapQuest Local: Twitter. To the techie demographic of MapQuest users, this service needs no introduction, however since we have 46 million unique users a month (including my mom), here’s a quick overview for the unfamiliar:

    Twitter is a popular short-messaging service for people to announce what they are doing in 140 characters or less. The Twitter widget on MapQuest Local lets you see what people are talking about in their city or town. For any city you visit on our Local site, you’ll see the most recent things that people in that area have posted or “tweeted.” If you see someone interesting, you can then click their Twitter username to see additional “tweets” they’ve made or click the “See More…” link at the bottom of the widget for additional local posts.

    Nobody knows Local better than locals; Twitter helps you find them and lets you know what they’re talking about.

    You can also keep up with articles, news and other MapQuest information by following MapQuest on Twitter.

    AOL Careers

    Another piece of content we’re excited to announce is the addition of a widget by AOL Careers through their partnership with CareerBuilder.com. The Careers widget will store up to five different sets of search keywords for job searches. When you change your location, it’ll go out and pull in job matches in that area. It’s useful content whether you’re actively searching for a new gig or just curious what’s going on in the local job market.

    The First Four Months of MapQuest Local

    The feedback has been overwhelming positive and looking at the numbers, it looks like you’ve been finding MapQuest Local very useful. Don’t forget to tell us what you think and what content you want to see added next. We enjoy working on Local, we’re very excited about what we’ll be adding in 2009.

    Have a happy and safe holiday season!

  8. This morning we updated MapQuest Local with some enhancements and bug fixes to make using Local more useful and make it easier to share information.

    AddThis

    To anyone familiar with blogs, AddThis buttons on sites at the bottom of posts and online news articles are pretty common. However, if you’re not already familiar with AddThis, it’s a service which allows you to easily share and bookmark pages to some of your favorite web sites, in this case: MapQuest Local pages. You can even use it to email a MapQuest Local link to a friend or set it as your home page (although you’ve probably already done that).

    To use it, simply click the big plus button on the Location Bar at the top of the page and it will open up a list of sites to publish to. If your favorite site is not on the list, just click the “more” link for more choices.

    AddThis Screenshot

    Name and Number Please?

    You may have noticed that MapQuest Local works a bit differently than the rest of MapQuest. Much of the address information is coming from other sites instead of our own internal data. As a result, when you clicked the “Maps” or “Get Directions” links, we weren’t able to pass along the business name or phone number into your map results. Well, we’ve fixed that. So now when you click the “Maps” and “Get Directions” links from any widget, the business name and phone number (if available) get passed along too.

    A few simple things we’ve added that make MapQuest Local easier to share and more convenient to use.

  9. Current users of the MapQuest Widget are seeing something new in the places they’ve embedded it. We’ve just upgraded the features and functionality to make it even more useful and easier to use.

    • We’ve improved the Maps and Driving Directions experience
    • MapQuest Search functionality has been added, allowing you to quickly pull up that address your looking for
    • We’ve added Traffic information; you can now quickly check the roads before you head out
    • Performance and functionality improvements

    If you don’t have the MapQuest Widget yet, you can click the “Grab & Share” link on the widget in this post, on the MapQuest Widget page in the yourminis gallery, or anywhere you see someone has embedded the widget. From there you can embed the widget on your favorite start pages like myAOL or on your favorite social network pages like Facebook or MySpace.


    For more widgets please visit www.yourminis.com

  10. One month ago we launched MapQuest Local, bringing you an easy-to-use dashboard of local activities, events, and other information to give you some “what” and “when” to go with your “where.”

    Two weeks ago we released a Classifieds widget from Kaango, Used Auto Listings from AOL Autos and added support for Microformats. We also continued to tweak and optimize the page to improve performance and your experience.

    Yelp widget screenshotToday we’re happy to announce even more additions:

    Yelp

    Yelp provides review information and city guides to help you find out the good, great, and as they put it “not so great” around you. There are reviews for car washes, wineries, pet stores, and much more. I think I’ve even seen a review for a parking garage. The reviewers are locals and visitors telling Yelp what they thought. Now on MapQuest Local, you can quickly see the best of what Yelp users have found and liked near you.

    Sports

    Our friends at Topix are providing MapQuest Local with sports news for baseball, hockey, and pro and college football and basketball. Sports is also the first widget you can customize beyond the local city or town. Like other widgets, we try to find the closest relevant content to where you’re looking, however we also know that your team isn’t necessarily the closest team. Trust us, at our PA office, the our closest NFL team is the Eagles, but a good chunk of our colleagues root for the Steelers. So now you can choose between getting sports news from the local team or from your team for each sport. Just click the little gear icon to flip around the widget and customize.

    Sports widget configuration

    Links and Tooltips

    We wanted to make it easier for you to bookmark MapQuest Local for different cities, so we’re introducing bookmark links which are easier-to-read. For instance, if you want to see what’s going on locally in Lancaster, PA, your bookmarked link will look like this: http://local.mapquest.com/lancaster-pa.

    MapQuest Local Location Bar: http://local.mapquest.com/lancaster-pa

    We’ve also added additional information to some of our local content by using tooltips. Now when you hover over certain content like photos or used car images, additional information will appear. See below for some examples.

    Tooltip examples

    We’re Just Getting Started

    Our team loves working on MapQuest Local and we have so many cool features yet to bring you. If you have a site with local content and want to show it on MapQuest Local, don’t forget to sign-up for notifications about our MapQuest Local Program. True story: A month ago Yelp was the third organization to sign-up, they were great to work with and today they went live on MapQuest Local. Who’s next? You?