The list of fully rendered 3D cities includes: “Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Lawrence (Kan.), Long Beach (Ca.), Los Angeles, Portland (Ore.), San Diego, Santa Cruz, Tampa, Tucson, and the San Francisco Bay Area (including the Peninsula and East Bay) as well as Rome, Italy.”
The images appear pretty crisp and render quickly. However Apple Insider does a side by side comparison of Google and Apple maps and argues that Apple Maps have sharper 3D rendering at higher levels of zoom.
The Google LatLong blog also announced yesterday that it was using a default city location in Maps to remove the step of entering location and make it faster to find places of interest:
Today we’re making Google Maps more useful by automatically zooming into your city as the starting point for your search. Now you can dive right in and discover the local businesses, restaurants and attractions near you, without having to manually enter your location. Much easier and faster.
I thought this default location detection feature was already being used. However when I visited Google Maps this morning it curiously showed my location as “California” rather than San Francisco.