Google Maps Update Includes New 3D Features, Help for Road Warriors
Google Maps Event
Google Maps invited a number of journalists to its offices in San Francisco June 6 to see a preview of some new features it's adding in the coming months.
Tough Questions About Google and Apple
Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering for Google Maps, faced persistent questions about reports that Apple was going to discontinue installing Google Maps natively on Apple iOS-powered devices such as the iPhone and iPad, in favor of Apple's own mapping programs. McClendon only said it's on iOS devices now "and we will continue to make Google Maps services as widely available as possible."
Changes to Street View
Luc Vincent, engineering director for Google Street View, explained the various vehicles Google has deployed to snap pictures of street-level scenes around the world, including this large three-wheeled tricycle photographed at Stonehenge in England. Google has also put cameras on ferry boats, trains and snowmobilesbesides conventional cars.
Introducing Street View Trekker
Next from Google Street View is the wearable, portable camera, the Trekker, a contraption that can be worn by someone wearing a backpack. It's for taking photos where cars can't go such as along hiking trails.
Coming Soon: Google Maps Offline
Rita Chen, a product manager for Google Maps on Mobile, explained that soon Google Maps users will be able to pre-download maps onto mobile devices that they can access while on the road. A visitor to a foreign city could download a map of that city onto their tablet or smartphone and call it up when they arrive without having to be connected to the Internet.
Interactive Map of London
Google product manager Rita Chen demonstrates with a map of London how a user could download a map onto their mobile device and call it up even if they are not connected to the Internet. The map has some of the same pan and zoom functionality as Google Maps online.
Google Earth in 3D
Google wants to enhance the image of Google Earth by making it 3D. This image shows San Francisco City Hall, and as the image moves along, it looks like taking a helicopter flight over the city's landmarks.
Reporters Crowd Into the Google Event
Journalists from high-profile organizations, such as Bloomberg, CBS, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, attended a media event at Google's offices in San Francisco June 6 as much to learn about the fate of Google Maps on Apple mobile devices as the new Maps features.
Google Executives Prepare to Speak
Google product managers and other executives wait their turns speaking at an event held to promote new upcoming features of Google Maps, including 3D Google Earth images, a wearable backup camera for taking Street View images and Google Maps you can study offline.
Google Maps for Good
Google Maps for Good is another service that uses Google Maps services for humanitarian purposes. Barbara Moore of Google Maps for Good explains how a tribe in the remote jungles of Brazil used Google Maps to track forest destruction near their village caused by illegal logging. Google Maps has also been used to clear minefields and was used to assist in rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.