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Windows Live Maps Gadget Coming, Exclusive First Detailed Look

Sometime this week, Donavon West will release a Gadget for Windows Live Maps, one that lets you quickly select an area on the map and view traffic conditions in major cities. I’ve been running it since last night, and here’s my screenshot gallery and first detailed look at the Gadget.

Installing the Gadget is standard, with the exception of one little thing:

1 - Installing

If you look closely (and click on the screenshot to view it larger in Flicr and see what I mean), the Gadget asks you if you want to change the default search engine in your browser to Windows Live Search. This makes me think the Gadget is an official Windows Live Gadget, commissioned by them for Donavon West to create. Anyway, just click “No” and you get to choose your city:

2 - Choose city

There’s an options dialog, where you can change your default city, see the version, and turn on and off the auto-updater.

3 - Co nfiguration

Cities available right now are based on Live Maps traffic data, so they are:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis
  • New York
  • Oklahoma City
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Pittsburgh
  • Portland
  • Providence
  • Sacramento
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • St. Louis
  • Tampa
  • Washington D.C.

Here’s what it looks like at the closest zoom:

4 - Zoom view

There are three zoom levels, which makes sense since if you zoom in too much, you’ll only get to see a small portion of your commute. You might want to start at the farthest zoom, then work your way in at trouble areas close to where you’ll be heading, seeing where the traffic is and what to avoid.

Here’s what you see when there’s some bad traffic, with red meaning worse conditions than yellow, obviously:

5 - Traffic conditions

When you pull your mouse over to the left, there are some buttons that appear:

6 - Buttons

You can use them to zoom in or out, see more detailed traffic reports at Windows Live Maps, get driving direction at Windows Live Maps, and search the map, again at Windows Live Maps. I’m hoping future versions of the Gadget let you do these things without launching a web browser, perhaps in a fly-out windows.

Also, if you pull the Gadget off the Sidebar, it gets much bigger, letting you see much more of the map. This is one view where an extra zoom level or two would have helped, but it’s still great to use.

7 - Large view

Verdict: Excellent Gadget, a must-install for anyone making heavy use of the Sidebar that faces a good commute to work. You put in a few choice Sidebar Gadgets, and you can scan your screen in seconds before you leave for work and be totally prepared, with this Gadget making sure you don’t sit in traffic for hourse. I wonder if it’ll be made Sideshow compatible, because that would be a godsend. Great work, and I recommend downloading it as soon as it becomes available.

February 5th, 2007 Posted by | General, Live, Maps, Windows | 8 comments



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8 Comments »

  1. [...] Sometime this week, Donavon West will release a Gadget for Windows Live Maps, one that lets you quickly select an area on the map and view traffic conditions in major cities. I’ve been running it since last night, and here’s my screenshot gallery and first detailed look at the Gadget… Read the rest at InsideMicrosoft and be sure to check out those cool screenshots! [...]

    Pingback by Windows Live Maps Gadget Coming, Exclusive First Detailed Look » Enterprise 2.0 and web 2.0 resources | February 5, 2007

  2. [...] Live Maps traffic gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar available for download After blogging about this nifty Windows Vista sidebar gadget a little while back, its now available for download on Windows Live Gallery. Even though the purpose of the gadget is pretty clear, Nathan Weinberg has a detailed post describing the in-and-outs. Dennis Cheung thinks that traffic is worse on Valentine’s Day than other days, but with this Live Maps traffic gadget installed, you’ll be ahead of the game. Although this is an official gadget, it was created by Donavon West. Great work as usual and probably the first Windows Live gadget of many. If you have any feature suggestions for this gadget please leave them in the comments below. Published Friday, February 16, 2007 10:20 AM by Chris Filed under: Windows Live, Windows Vista, Gadgets, Maps, Vista [...]

    Pingback by LiveSide - News blog : Live Maps traffic gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar available for download | February 16, 2007

  3. [...] After blogging about this nifty Windows Vista sidebar gadget a little while back, its now available for download on Windows Live Gallery. Even though the purpose of the gadget is pretty clear, Nathan Weinberg has a detailed post describing the in-and-outs. [...]

    Pingback by Msn Find for Myspaces » Live Maps traffic gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar available for download | February 16, 2007

  4. shit shit shit

    Comment by shit | February 19, 2007

  5. [...] The Windows Live Maps Windows Vista Sidebar Gadget is now available for download. Go read my review from two weeks ago. [...]

    Pingback by » Microsoft Doing Digg-Like Site »  InsideMicrosoft - part of the Blog News Channel | February 20, 2007

  6. [...] a new Windows Vista Sidebar Gadget that brings Windows Live Maps to your desktop. Unlike the previous one, which did a great job of tracking traffic conditions in your area, this one is used to search Live [...]

    Pingback by New Live Maps Search Gadget » InsideMicrosoft » part of the Blog News Channel | September 4, 2007

  7. [...] 2007Filed Under Articles | One of my favorite Windows Live Sidebar gadgets is (or rather, was) the Live Maps gadget. This gadget gave you a snapshot of your local traffic, in real time. It’s a great tool [...]

    Pingback by Live Maps Sidebar Mess : Christopher Price .net | October 20, 2007

  8. Please if guide about gadget if wanted to see about the current location on my laptop. If move laptop it will tell me the exact loaction in which direction i am sitting. i.e. tell me north,south,west and east direction.

    Comment by Asad | October 23, 2007

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