Maps.ask.com is an application that provides free maps to internet users. Ask’s version works somewhat like Google Maps, with varying views and a driving directions search. The user can begin by entering a location (which can be a city, state or zip code) into the search bar provided on the Ask Maps homepage. The site shows the user the location on the map and gives them the option of searching for driving directions by entering start and end address. The user can also change the view by zooming in and out of the map for more or less detail. Ask Maps allows users to explore the surrounding area by clicking and dragging the map left, right, up or down.
Ask Maps is a part of the Ask tree of applications, which includes a web search, news application and images search. Ask was originally formed as Ask Jeeves in 1996. The company renamed itself to just Ask in 2005. The company is based in Oakland, California and maintains locations in Europe and the United Kingdom.
Ask Maps offers many of the same features that other, similar applications provide. There is little variation, and some may find that the Ask version is slightly more limited. For some, the simplicity of the application may be a plus that makes Ask Maps more appealing when compared to other map applications.
Ask Maps gives users exactly what they came for right at the center of the homepage. The user is greeted by a road map that covers most of the entire page. The map marks roads, highways, cities, towns and other important landmarks. The user can find the directions search tool in the upper, left hand corner, below the map search bar. In the upper, right hand corner, the user can find four buttons to toggle between traffic maps, street maps, satellite maps and bird’s eye view.
Visitors to Ask Maps are not required to create an account or log in to access all the current features. Anyone can search for a specific location and obtain driving directions for anywhere in the world. Those who would like to create an Ask account can do so by clicking the white “Sign In” link in the upper, right hand corner of the page. Along the left hand side on the following page, the user can find two buttons. One allows them to sign in with Facebook and the other allows a sign in with Linked In.
Ask Maps provides users with a helpful resource when exploring geographic areas or regions. That being said, the application does not offer anything that other applications do not already supply for free. Charging a fee at this point would deter users from trying Ask Maps over Google Maps or other similar sites. At this point, Ask Maps is available to all users for free. The site does not stat that this will change. There is no subscription fee or other charge for searching, viewing or sharing maps and directions.
Anyone who needs to find directions or would like to review a geographic area can appreciate Ask Maps. The application provides the user with multiple view options that are ideal for travelers as well as those who are simply curious.