By Eric Auchard
Google Inc. said on Tuesday it was introducing street-level map views
of various U.S. cities, giving Web users a panoramic, 360-degree
images as well as the overhead views Google Maps has offered.
With the new "Street View" feature in Google Maps, street level
imagery is available for maps of the San Francisco area, New York, Las
Vegas, Denver and Miami, and will soon expand to other metropolitan
regions, Google said in a statement.
Users looking at Google Maps through a Web browser can navigate around
a city, "virtually" walking the streets, checking out restaurants and
landmarks and even zoom in on bus stops or street signs to make travel
Google is playing catch-up with street-level viewing features,
following in the footsteps of A9.com's BlockView mapping feature
introduced in early 2005 and showing street-level views in roughly two
dozen major U.S. cities.
A9.com, a unit of Amazon.com Inc., discontinued the feature in
September 2006. A9 Chief Executive Udi Manber subsequently joined
Google as vice president of engineering.
Microsoft Corp. has offered what it calls a "birds-eye" view on parts
of its MSN Virtual Earth three-dimensional mapping service for several
big U.S. cites since late in 2005.
Google also announced plans for "Mapplets," a tool for independent
software developers to build mini-applications that be displayed
within Google Maps. Mapplets can display a variety of information,
from housing listings to crime data as well as ways to measure
distances between different points on the map.
Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Inc. and MapQuest, a unit of Time Warner
Inc.'s AOL online business, all continue to compete aggressively to
create new online mapping features, said analyst Greg Sterling of
Sterling Market Intelligence.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Web sites now rely on one of the major
online map providers to create hybrid mapping applications, popularly
known as "mashups," he estimated.
Google made the announcements at the Where 2.0 conference taking place
in San Jose this week. More details can be found at
Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.
NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at
http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra/more-news.html . Hundreds of new
articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at
For more news and headlines, please go to: