Fresh out of the wonderful workshop deep in the bowels of Google comes its latest toy: Google Maps. Taking a direct swipe at longstanding services Mapquest and Yahoo! Maps, Google starts with your basic online map stuff but serves it via an awesome interface.

The shadowed waypoint icon alone is a neat effect, but the way it delivers local search results and driving directions, or lets you navigate around (with your mouse or keyboard) is great. The little usability touches make a big difference. Even as a “beta” product demo, this could be a category killer. Like most anything else Google touches.

Since Google draws from a mind-boggling collection of information, the results you get can be both incredibly useful and occasionally strange. Sure, you can try and find thai food or
gas stations… but you can even take a stab at finding tall women or
smelly dogs.

Er. I have no idea why the top result for that last query is a Korean restaurant in Makiki.

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