In February of 2005, Google quietly announced the debut of a new service, Google Maps, that changed the face of mapping and cartography on the Web for an overwhelming number of people. Gone were the tiny, slow-loading, and sometimes ugly digital maps that people were pretty much accustomed to using on the Web, maps that fell below the "fold" of a web page, and were often impossible to navigate. Instead, using the latest in web browser scripting technology, Google Maps offers a fast-loading, tiled map display, a simple yet deep user interface, asynchronous display updates in place of the tiresome click-and-reload routine, and, ultimately, even a rich scripting API. Although many of these features had been seen before in one place or another, no one had seen them all integrated with the attention to detail that we've come to expect from Google. Let's take our first look at how Google Maps changed how people use maps on the Web forever.