Google China has added maps to its services. Its previous service called Google Local (bendi.google.cn) now redirects to ditu.google.cn.
Referred to as Google Di Tu (maps in Chinese), the maps service was launched since the product has “matured”, its spokeswoman told Reuters. It features 146 cities with search options by street addresses, transportation routes and tourist spots.
The search input must be in Chinese, notably in Simplified Chinese characters; my searches “Beijing” and “Shanghai” yielded:
We don’t support “Beijing” at present. We suggest:
1. Make all street, city and place name as complete as possible.
2. Please ensure your address contains the province, the autonomous region, the city, the county, the village or town’s name.
Comparably, DDMap is does little better in terms of usability by providing predefined list of cities and entering a more detailed address can be left optional. With Google Di Tu, user has to type in the location at once.
Since the map is somewhat “consolidated” with Google Local, search terms like “restaurants in Fuxingmen” can yield desired results.
However, driving directions can be pretty nasty, similar to the embarrassment which took place in Australia. Google Di Tu can pinpoint the exact address of the destination, but showing the directions is another matter. Perhaps, the way Google Maps worked in America does not bode well in China, which still has much more users of public transport than car owners. Ding Ding provides public transport routes.
Perhaps the way it worked right now, with the “New” labels and all, Google isn’t too proud to show it off in public that it wasn’t even featured in Google China Blog yet.