Google Maps

Google Maps is a desktop and mobile web mapping service application and technology provided by Google, offering satellite imagery, street maps, and Street View perspectives, as well as functions such as a route planner for traveling by foot, car, bicycle (beta test), or with public transportation. Also supported are maps embedded on third-party websites via the Google Maps API, and a locator for urban businesses and other organizations in numerous countries around the world. Google Maps satellite images are not updated in real time; however, Google adds data to their Primary Database on a regular basis. Google Earth support states that most of the images are no more than 3 years old. The opt-in redesigned version of the desktop application has been available since 2013, alongside the “classic” (pre-2013) version. The redesigned version was met by user criticism regarding slowness, hiding some common functions, removing a scale bar, and lack of other features that include My Places and sharable customized links to parameterized split Street View and Map views. It is possible to switch back to the old version. Google Maps uses a close variant of the Mercator projection, and therefore cannot accurately show areas around the poles. A related product is Google Earth, a stand-alone program which offers more globe-viewing features, including showing polar areas. Google Maps for mobile is the world’s most popular app for smartphones, with over 54% of global smartphone owners using it at least once during the month of August 2013.

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