MapQuest has forestalled Google Maps' steady encroachment on its online mapping market share over 2008--for now.
"In late December, it looked like Google Maps was ready to overtake MapQuest," said Hitwise analyst Heather Hopkins in a blog post Wednesday. But MapQuest has added some new features in recent months, "perhaps...helping MapQuest regain a foothold," she said.
By February 7, MapQuest had 39.5 percent online mapping visits in the United States, compared to 35.7 percent for Google, Hitwise said.
MapQuest gets most of its traffic directly from its own site, but Google Maps gets a lot of traffic from small maps blended into Google's search results. "Sixty-one percent of visits to Google Maps came directly from Google last week," Hopkins said. And perhaps needless to say, Google remains the dominant search company by far, vastly outpacing AOL, which operates MapQuest and actually relies on Google for its own search results.