When you go to the map, most also have a link to Google Street View. It’s fun because it’s a slight preview of the neighborhood. I get a good look at the house, can go up and down the street and see something of what the neighborhood looks like.
It’s not a strong impression, not quite like being there, but it’s not a bad place to start. It’s easier to tell on Street View than from satellite photos is the neighborhood is seriously run down or on the newer side.
There’s still a lot more than that to picking a good place. I still need to check out the schools and really see the neighborhoods. But the extra impression of the area is nice to have.