The new full-screen Google Maps were announced this summer at Google’s developer conference. However, the company is still rolling it out to users. Today on the Google LatLong blog, a number of new (or returning) features were introduced.
Among them, the “Pegman” Street View icon is back. He/it appears in the lower right corner of the map. Click it and you’ll see highlighted areas on the map (in blue) that give you access to Street View images. Mouse over those areas and you get a thumbnail preview.
Zoom in and you see blue and yellow dots or circles. Blue dots indicate user-uploaded photos (some 360 degree images). Yellow dots indicate indoor imagery.
There are also automated photo and 3D aerial Google “Earth Tours” of different locations. Photo tours are stitched-together images, essentially a slide show. Google Earth tours provide an animated 3D aerial fly over/around view of various landmarks and locations.
It’s not always easy to find Earth Tours. You click the photo icons area in the lower right of the screen to pull up a range of images. Among them are photo tours, “photospheres” (360 degree images) and Earth Tours. However it’s a bit difficult to differentiate the small icons (or perhaps I’m going blind) and so you need to mouse over the image to confirm it’s an Earth Tour.
Earth Tours work with WebGL-enabled browsers (Chrome, Firefox).
Google has also added Waze traffic incident reporting to the PC version of maps. It has been on the Google Maps mobile app for some time. And finally Google is including Street View directions “previews” of key intersections and junctions along a route to help familiarize drivers with turns and key decision points.
In order to see these intersection snapshots, users click “preview steps” on the “lower card” portion of the directions window. It not entirely obvious initially.
This Street View preview functionality isn’t currently available on Google Maps for mobile. But expect Google to integrate the helpful feature there soon — where it makes more sense than on the PC.