Qwant, the French search engine that respects users privacy, has launched a beta version of Qwant Maps, a, you guessed it, privacy respecting mapping service.
Qwant Maps is an open source project that anyone may contribute to. The data is hosted on GitHub and developers may run their own version by following the instructions on the project website.
The beta version of the mapping service supports desktop and mobile access, and it works similarly to how other mapping services such as Google Maps, Bing Maps, or OpenStreetMap work.
Qwant Maps displays a search field at the top to find points of interests quickly; just type in an address or the name of a place to jump to it right away. Descriptions are provided for places that you activate on the map; these are taken from Wikipedia and maybe also other sources.
The services module displays a handful of options. Click on one of the presets, e.g. hotel, pharmacy, or supermarket, to display a list of available locations on the active map.
Places can be added to the favorites without signing in; in fact, I could not find an option to sign in to Qwant Maps anywhere on the site.
Directions are supported as well. Just click on directions to get started and add start and end points. You may pick them from the favorites or using the keyboard to input them manually.
Additional options, e.g. to avoid certain types of streets, or to add additional stops, are not provided as well.
Driving, walking, and cycling directions are provided at the time. The service lacks transit and flight information that Google Maps supports; there is also no option to get navigational instructions while on the move.
Users may manipulate the URL of Qwant Maps directly to jump to certain locations or use certain functionality:
Qwant Maps' main appeal is privacy at the time as it sets the service apart from Google Maps, Bing Maps, and many other mapping services.
Our commitments for the protection of your privacy and your personal data are available here and apply to the QWANT MAPS service. When you request to enable geolocation on QWANT MAPS, your browser or application will return to Qwant a location that Qwant does not maintain.
It is used temporarily to specify your query and thus center the map displayed, and indicate the geographical point corresponding to the position returned. However, we encourage you to disable geolocation whenever it is no longer needed.
Qwant Maps is a beta service and it shows when it comes to functionality. While you get the core features out of the service right now, you will notice here and there that some features are missing. The focus on privacy could convince some users to switch to it or use it as well.
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