Google Maps Now Highlights Cities

Google Maps added a new feature that highlights cities with a grey dotted line and pink highlighted fill color. This is a pretty solid feature that helps to better distinguish specific towns/cities from their neighbors which sometimes have tricky or unclear boundaries.

I just ran into this feature while searching for Magna, UT where Municipal Waste will be playing a show on April 10th, 2012.

Google Maps view of Magna, UT

Google Maps adds highlighted city feature

As you can see in this example, Salt Lake City has numerous subsections and neighboring areas that used to get lost within the “greater” SLC area. This new feature could prove useful for people moving to a new area as it’ll help distinguish various neighborhoods and aid in research of ideal living neighborhoods.

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YouTube Revamped – Review the New Changes

Google's new wave of interface changes have spread across their most popular applications, including Gmail, Google + and now YouTube. The new changes to the video-hosting platform seem to focus on promotion of channels and social sharing, as well as better incorporate ads and sponsored content (aimed to enhance profitability).  In my opinion, the changes are moving in the right direction.

Over the past year there's been a clear push towards product integration of Google's major products while discontinuing some underachievers in the product family (ie: Buzz, Wave, Knol, etc.).  Google + has been a major influence on the new changes which are aimed to incorporate content sharing within the Google network. The newest YouTube changes are integrating social sharing and the new Google "look" into the interface and functionality.

Homepage: Layout & Focus

  • Sidebar: offers (logged-in users) subscribed channels, YouTube trends and suggested channels
  • Banner Ad (top): a large interactive banner ad
  • Middle Section: videos pulled from subscribed channels and Google + (your connections' channels/postings)
  • Right Section: recommendations, plus spotlight and featured videos/ads

The new beige-speckled/tan-ish background is visually pleasing and the overall design better accents the videos, ads and navigation elements. 

Video Page

  • Pretty Similar Layout: minor changes
  • Sharing: added Facebook, Twitter and Google + syndication buttons, as well as the email and embed buttons
  • Ad Deployment: similar delivery
  • Subscribed Videos: enhanced footer navigation of channel videos

Not much has changed when viewing videos, but the layout seems cleaner and more compact. The related videos/ad bar on the right seems a little slimmer and tends to show the larger 300px by 250px banner ad in the upper-right hand section.  Overall, the facade overhaul is welcomed.  There is nothing too major to report, but Google definitely feels the need to adapt to "Web 3.0" standards since they haven't had a major overhaul to their prized video platform since its acquisition.  I dig the results thus far.

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Welcome – Kurt’s Blog

A new blog. By this guy.

With my new site design underway, I figured I'd create and integrate a blog into the works and capture my random thoughts. This digital weblog will probably focus on shredding, Metal, search engine marketing (SEM), food/recipes and views on current events.

Check back randomly at Kurt Alward's homepage (personal section) or to the blog location at Also, feel free to follow Kurt via RSS.

– K-Man