Last night I got my invite to play with the new Google Maps (desktop edition).
- It’s kinda slow.
(For the record: I’m using Safari on a dual-core i7 MacMini with dual SATAIII SSDs in a striped array and 16GB of memory, and my internet bandwidth is above-average.)
- The interface has a clean/simple yet beautiful design. The map itself dominates the entire screen, which I suppose is how it should be.
- By minimizing the presence of the user interface, there are less buttons and entry fields, which means it’s harder to use if you’re unfamiliar. It makes me wonder if the Maps team hasn’t over-minimalized to the point where it isn’t obvious to users how they should interact with the service.
- Thankfully, the “tour” that introduces you to the new product does a decent job of inducting users into the new interface paradigm. (I’m not sure that’s a good thing. To add a twist to a Jobs-ism: If it needs a user interface “tour” then it’s not intuitive enough. Not sure if that’s the case here, but it could be.)
All-in-all, it’s a step in the right direction.