Thursday, February 15, 2018

Naver Map testing beta service for multi-language web interface

Naver Map is testing a new beta version of their desktop map website. I mentioned before that it still uses the older imagery rather than the new multi-lingual imagery from the app. Well that's changing.

The beta site clearly uses the same map imagery as the app, including a sidebar that (looks just like Google Maps) will be familiar to you if you already use the Naver Map app.

Naver Map beta site English version. Screenshot.

I switched it to the English view and tried searching "Seoul station" but that didn't seem to work quite right. The colors and UI is more intuitive now though.

Naver Map beta site. Local info. Screenshot.

They've also brought over the "popular in the neighborhood" feature from the app. Tap that top button to see what keywords are popular searches in that area.

Naver Map beta. Right side sidebar. Screenshot.

Here's the important part. Under the Layers option, you'll find the little language boxes at the bottom of the pop-up. Tap "A" for English or the others for Korean, Chinese, Japanese. You can see that right now it only switches the underlying map imagery to the translated version. All the UI interface is still Korean only (but it's just a beta after all). 

People on Twitter, when not complaining that the new map generally is terrible, note that the beta site is very slow loading. I couldn't get the 3D view (the raised polygonal buildings) to work. But it's a neat start. 

I hope they eventually add back the links for embedding maps. And yes, I know objectively this is a step in the right direction, but I like the 1995 gray washed out style of the old/current Naver Map. Call me crazy, but this blinding bright white style that's in vogue these days drives me crazy. I'm here to work, not to have fun. Don't try to "fun up" my experience, websites. 

Check it out for yourself here, but be aware that it only works on desktop. Opening the link on mobile will redirect you to the current Naver Map older style mobile site.

🔗 네이버 지도 - 베타 - Naver Map beta

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