Jon is now trying to explain why AJAX is interesting so that I can understand it. His analogy is that AJAX is a lever sitting on a fulcrum and that people are using Google Maps and not things like MSN maps because Google Maps are more programmable; he bolstered his argument by pointing out the number of search results for hacks.
|Google search results for:|
|"streets & trips hacks"||0|
|"google maps hacks"||3430|
I'm not sure, but by this logic, Windows takes the cake with over 2.9 million results for "Windows hacks," with .NET at 680K. I'm not sure, however, that you can really use the word "hacks" as a metric of success. A hack, by its very nature, is a workaround. If you look at Mappoint (which has no platform evangelists, by the way), the system for getting the software is a bit more codified. Rather than having to hack anything, you download the SDK and can start coding. Even I can get a sample up and running in 20 minutes or less.
People have done lots of interesting things with Google Maps, and AJAX is an interesting workaround for some of the limitations of HTML -- heck Microsoft uses technology like this for all sorts of things today. And the fact that people can share the results of their coding with each other by having a URL is interesting. But couldn't the user experience be better?