In something of a whimsical post (“Confessions of a search box“), the Google LatLong Blog says that photos, YouTube videos, and book search results have been added and are now discoverable in Google Maps. The photos are from various sources, including Google-owned Panoramio and Flickr.
This is all content that can be found in Google Earth, which shares the same platform as Maps. Increasingly, the two products are less distinct and more of Earth’s content and functionality are making their way into Maps (terrain is another good example). Another way to look at this is as the introduction of multiple forms of content (a la Universal Search) into Maps.
Google has said its mission with Earth is to “geographically organize” the world’s information. As I said, Earth has had multiple content types for a long time and now those layers are starting to make their way into Maps online. Indeed, Google’s vision for Maps is as a multimedia content platform with a geo orientation.