The new <canvas> tag might be useful in building a smoother and more functional Google Maps implementation than Google currently has. 

Instead of pasting images together and scrolling them as necessary, you could blit them to the canvas at the appropriate location using drawImage().  Drawing routes on top of the map would be a simple transparent line drawing operation.

You could also write tile-based games that ran in a web browser without plugins.  Think nethack or Freeciv implementations.

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