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Google launches beta site for new map service

In its latest play in the ongoing search wars, Google launched a beta site for a new map service.

The service offers a few tweaks to standard mapping products. Someone using the service can click and drag the maps, instead of having to click and reload, for example, and magnified views of specific spots pop up in bubbles. The new map service supports Internet Explorer and Mozilla browsers. It covers the United States, Puerto Rico and parts of Canada.

The ongoing search battles between Google and companies like Yahoo and Microsoft have led to new features and enhancements coming out almost weekly. Localization and mapping products have been a particular focus because they’re popular with advertisers.

Even Amazon.com has gotten into the game, offering a service through its A9.com search unit that shows digital photos of storefronts in its U.S. business listings.