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Posts tagged with: google maps

Google Maps Labs Launched

Google always like to test new features via their Labs. Most of the big Google products like Google Mail, Youtube, Google Search has a Labs section where they usually have a lot of hidden features & gems.

Today I’m really excited to see that one of my favorite Google products – Google Maps has just launched a Labs section on their website where they have already put up about 10 new add-ons.

Like any other Google Labs repository, Google Maps Labs will work as testing ground for experimental features that aren’t quite ready for primetime. Google clearly states that these feature may change, break or disappear at any time, so apply them with caution.

How to Enable Google Maps Labs

If you want to enable and browse the Google maps Labs, just visit the main maps page and click the green flask at the top and you get a chance to enable features like the following:

google maps labs screensot

Some of the cool features that is currently available under Google Maps Labs are as follows:

Drag ‘n’ Zoom
With this feature Zooming in on a specific part of the map will become very fast and easy. With a simple click on Drag ‘n’ Zoom button, you will be able to draw a box on the map, and zoom!

Aerial Imagery
Aerial imagery gives you rotatable, high-resolution overhead imagery presented in a new perspective.

Where in the World Game
This is a really fun feature that lets you test your knowledge of world geography! You will have to guess the name of the country from satellite imagery, and try to beat your top score!

Rotatable Maps
Tired of North always being up? Add rotatable map types and give East, West and South a fair go.

What’s Around Here?
This neat feature adds a second search button that searches for “*”, returning the top results in the current view. A great way to browse the map.

LatLng Tooltip
Displays a tooltip next to the mouse cursor showing the latlng directly underneath it.

LatLng Marker
Adds an option to the context menu that lets you drop a mini marker showing the latlng of the position that the cursor was pointing at when the context menu was evoked

…..and many more! Try out the Google Maps Labs today!


Google Maps Now Suggests Places

google-maps-logo Google Maps has recently launched a new and nifty feature that automatically makes suggestion to similar places that you may like based on your search query in maps. So if you search for a restaurant that you love, Google maps will automatically suggest other restaurants on that area that you may love.

According to the Google LatLong blog, suggestions to places aren’t based on a specific characteristic. Google uses a “broad set of signals” to deliver recommendations.

google-maps-place-suggest

Even though this feature is not available in Malaysia/Singapore yet for me to test out, I really feel that this feature will be extremely useful for travelers who are searching for hotels, restaurants or bars in any given area.

Search Engine Land recently pointed out that Google Maps will also be rolling out yet another compelling feature that will enable you view inside of the store. Similar to street views, Google Store Views will allow people to visually walk into the store from Maps. Now that’s cool!


Google Maps Directions Widget for Your Site

If you are advertising online which complements your offline business, its very important for you to make sure that your customers to how to reach your store/office.

It can be a real pain sometimes to write out and update multiple sets of directions from the North, South, East or West. And it also gets very confusing for the customer as they are only looking for directions from their own specific location and they may not even know from which way they are coming from to your location.

Luckily, with their new Google Maps directions gadget, you no longer need to worry about all these anymore. With a simple click of a button, you can now have a widget like the one below:

Simply enter your location at the top box (try palo alto) and Google maps will automatically display a map and give direction based on your location that you have entered. Here is a screen shot:

google maps direction widget

Not convinced? Just take a look at how Stanford university is using the Google Maps Direction Widget on their website to give visitors the direction to their visitor center.

Source: Inside Adwords Blog


Google Updates Location Based Search Results

If you like traveling and rely heavily on a search engine like Google for your travel related research then you would probably appreciate Google’s recent efforts in location based search.

For over two years, google is displaying maps of location via Google Universal search directly in the search results page when a user is searching for location based keywords. (e.g. New York, Melbourne).

But now Google has taken this one step further and started displaying pictures alongside the map which gives users a sense of what the place is like in real.

I searched for Kuala Lumpur (the capital of Malaysia) and I was presented with a map of Kuala Lumpur alongside some of the pictures from the city. Clicking on the image took me directly to the google maps page and sort of graphically placed each of the pictures on the map.

Kuala Lumpur - Google location based search

Kuala Lumpur Google Maps

Google Street View Now Covers New Zealand

The Sydney Morning Herald & Google Blogoscoped reports that google is going live with high quality panorama photos for Google Maps for New Zealand.

Google has launched Street View in New Zealand.

Google has launched Street View in New Zealand.

Some highlights (as listed in Google Maps New Zealand page) include the Stone Store in Kerikeri, the Beehive in Wellington, and Cathedral Square in Christchurch.

Even though Google has repeatedly said that privacy shouldn’t be a concern for users as Google’s license plate and face-blurring technology has been put to use at all time. But I wonder how The Age was able to get a picture of a couple embracing outside the Colosseum in Rome using Street view.

Captured on Street View - A couple embracing outside the Colosseum

Captured on Street View ... a couple embracing outside the Colosseum

Google has shared Top 10 Street View tips for everyday use and a separate Top 10 List for businesses and organizations.


Google Maps Providing High Resolution Images

Google has always tried to bring the world closer to people. For instance because of services like Google Maps, Google Street View, people now get help with any address, street directions and even traffic information.

Thats not all! ….People now even use Google Maps to find the best route that is faster to reach and has moderately less traffic.

ReadWriteWeb today blogged about Google Maps being able to providing very high resolution images using their GeoEye-1 satellite. Wired Writes:

The 4,300-pound satellite collected the image at noon EDT on October 7 while moving from the north pole to the south pole in a 423-mile-high orbit at 17,000 miles per hour, or 4.5 miles per second. The spacecraft can take photos at a resolution of up to 41 centimeters — close enough to zoom in on the home plate of a baseball diamond, according to Mark Brender, GeoEye’s vice president of communications and marketing.

And I must say, I am very surprised to see the image quality that Google maps has produced using this new toy. The pictures are very high resolution and extremely crisp.

Here’s a comparison between the new satellite image and the current resolution (Photo Credit: ReadWriteWeb & Wired):

google-map-high-quality-comparison

Google can now begin providing images for Google Maps and Google Earth which will will boast a resolution of 50 cm.

If you are looking for even higher resolution than what is being provided you will need to get a security clearance because the US Federal Government restricts distribution of higher-resolution imagery.