Send a message of holiday cheer with Google Maps

For me, celebrating the holidays is about spending time with family and friends. Along with sharing delicious meals and building snowmen in the backyard, getting into the season often means traveling to places both familiar and new, whether going to visit family or walking down the Champs-Élysées to see the holiday lights.

We’re sure many of you have holiday plans in the works, so we’ve designed greeting cards you can email to friends and family—to share those fun adventures or just to say hello from wherever you are around the world. In addition to choosing from 10 holiday covers and adding a personal message, you can include specific directions, a Street View image or a favorite place on the inside of the card.

Since I grew up in New England, the holidays always make me think of skiing. So I’ll send some of my friends cards with inspiring ski scenes in Street View, or directions to Squaw Valley for an upcoming ski trip.

Around this time of year, I also get nostalgic about specific places where great holiday memories were made, so the card I’ll send to my family will remind them of the amazing breakfasts we had at Lou’s during past holiday seasons. And the card to my friends in New York will suggest a restaurant we should try when I visit them in a couple of weeks.

Thanks to Christoph Niemann for inspiration

And of course, to share some winter weather with my friends in California, I’ll send a card with some wintry scenes of Antarctica and Whistler, and snowy greetings on the cover.

We hope these online cards help you stay connected and share holiday cheer with your loved ones, whether you send directions to a holiday party, winter imagery from Street View or the various places that signify the spirit of the season to you. Start sending at Happy holidays!

Posted by Katie Mandel, Product Marketing Manager, Google Maps

San Francisco Typographic Map

HOORAY! The San Francisco typographic map is finally finished and is ready for purchase today. I made a big push to get this map ready for the holidays (with some help from Andy and Ben) and we’re really happy with the way this turned out. More images.

I went a bit overboard and decided to map the *entire* city; The amount of fine detail in this map is pretty astonishing. To fit the entire city onto a poster, of course, means the type itself has to be much smaller to fit it all in. In fact, the street text is half the size of the Chicago map (6 pt surface streets versus 12 pt) so there’s lots of detail for your eyes to enjoy.

GO BIG: Given the crazy density of streets I strongly recommend you get one in poster size (or up) so you can best see all of the parks, water features, and twisty streets the city is famous for.

WHAT’S THIS ABOUT LETTERPRESS?! Great news, we’ll be offering limited edition, gorgeous letterpress prints on rich cotton paper in the first half of 2011. While we love Zazzle (their prints rock), many of you asked (and begged!) for us to do these as hand-made, limited edition art prints and we thought that was a great idea. Want to be the first to know when they go on sale? Go here.

WHAT’S NEXT? We have New York City (Andy) and Washington DC (Ben) coming up shortly. They look sweet.