"a new feature that makes it quick and easy to create your own custom Google Maps
just by pointing and clicking. You can add placemarks, draw lines and
shapes, and embed text, photos and videos — all using a simple drag
and drop interface. Your map automatically gets a public URL that you
can share with your friends and family, or you can also publish your
map for inclusion in Google Maps search results."
I decided to pretend that I was on a luxurious vacation to La Jolla, CA with my family. I would plan to meet-up with friends at La Jolla Cove Beach, 1100 Coast Blvd. , La Jolla, CA at 10am that morning. Then, we would meet up at Brockton Villa for a fancy lunch to celebrate someone’s birthday. If one of the friends could not meet up at the beach, then they could meet at the restaurant. Instead of sending instructions via email, I decided to create a Google "My Map" to visually show where everything is. I realized that this will also save time; the invitees will not need to go to google maps after you send them the text directions -the map is already linked in the email.
In the Google Maps main page there are two tabs, one for to search map locations and one for your "my map". I went to the search map to see where the Brockton Villa is located, since I saw it listed as a great place to go for lunch near La Jolla Cove. Google Maps showed me that it was not far from La Jolla Cove, so I added that location to my map by using the "placemark tool". I then hit "email" and it provided me with the link. The URL was also displayed if I chose "link to this page". I could of been really fancy and added rich text, photos or videos but decided to keep it simple the first time around.
I set my map as private so it can just be viewed by my friends/family. Here are the details for the public versus private listings for My Map:
"Public maps are maps that you want to publish and share with everyone. Public maps will be included in
the search results on Google Maps and Earth.
Unlisted maps are maps that you only want to share with a few select people. Unlisted maps will not be included in the search results, so they are accessible much like an unlisted phone number — anyone who knows the specific URL of the map can view it, but there’s no directory or search for finding unlisted maps."
I sent the link I created to my wonderful brother (a willing participant to my test drive). Here is what he received when he clicked on the link. I covered my browser and his email details for this picture. The email address listed on the map is the person who is clicking on the link.
My Map worked and it was easy to use. Caveman or not. And no one can complain that they did not get directions…
MORE TECHIE DETAILS: This is what in the Web 2.0 world is called a "mash-up". You can impress your friends by throwing that word out. There are some great examples of how My Maps can be used, one of which is following a presidential election. Here is an example of the red state/blue state link to the 2004 election.