unable to modify global variable in javascript

unable to modify global variable in javascript

<br>

var address ="<%= params[:search] %>";
var lat;
var long;
var geocoder = new google.maps.Geocoder();
geocoder.geocode( { 'address': address}, function(results, status) {
    lat = results[0].geometry.location.lat();
    long = results[0].geometry.location.lng();
}); 
alert(lat);
//wanna use lat and long here!


browser always alert "undefined" when called outside the function, works when called from within the function.

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