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Last week Google revealed its revamped mapping program with a host of comprehensive features. It comes after Apple is reportedly about to drop Google maps from its mobile devices.
So, what can we expect from these changes?
Well, Google haven’t actually released a commuter airline service, but the company did announce they have used an exclusive fleet of camera-equipped planes above several cities in their latest step to push the boundaries of creating a digital map of the world.
The aim is to release a 3D map for some of the world’s most famous cities by the end of the year to give the illusion that “you’re just flying over the city, almost as if you were in your own personal helicopter”, according to Peter Birch, one of the product managers for Google Earth.
Other key features of the new update will focus heavily on mobile use, with the aim of more interaction and integration with Google's other tools and software. Users will also soon be able to use the mapping system offline by selecting an area and saving a local map that can be viewed without a data connection.
With Google constantly attempting to reach the limits in order to create the leading digital mapping software, I can’t help feeling how much of our privacy will be lost for online dominancy. Last year Google even took viewers inside shops with their new Android feature and the search engine has already travelled over five million miles to take ground-level photos of communities for their street-view feature, even claiming their mark on Antarctica. Now Google plans to embellish its street-view service with even more photos from remote areas including hiking trails taken from specially designed equipment attached to a hikers backpack.
Love it or loath it, the service has no doubt provided controversy. Many internet users, however, have found a brilliant use for it – finding the most amusing moments from the street maps. So, to finish off, I’ve picked my top four:
1. Where's Wally?
Google announced that Wally was somewhere in the UK Street View, he was eventually spotted in Putney, London.
2. Shark Attack
What looks like a giant shark is spotted crashing through the roof of a house in Oxford.
3. One ring to rule them all
Two men were spotted having a Viking themed duel on a housing estate in Middle Earth.
4. Man vs. Grizzly
No doubt my favourite picture – A man actually caught chasing off a bear in the US.