Ed Hassinger pointed me to two new Google features that I think are worthy of specific mention.
The first is Google Suggest that provides character-by-character feedback as you type in your search terms. It even includes hit counts in the dropdown list.
The second is Google Maps that has all the normal features of map plotting that we're used to but then provides drag-around capability. Meaning, once your map displays, click (and hold the mouse button down) then drag left or right to reveal more of the map. No need to constantly recenter the map before zooming. But if you do want to recenter the map, simply double-click on a spot and it will recenter to that spot.