Google Maps has a very useful mapplet (what's a mapplet?) that shows places of interest from a list of categories. You can select the mapplet by going to the My Maps tab and clicking on Featured content > Places of interest.
Instead of searching for bars, restaurants, hospitals, shopping malls, you can select these categories in the left sidebar and see all the places that match your selection. Unlike the standard search results, the mapplet shows many more places and you can use it to see the picture: for example, to estimate the distribution of restaurants in a certain area. Google Maps lets you select more than one mapplet, so you can also activate the distance measurement tool, the Panoramio layer with beautiful photos or the popular community maps.
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