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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Google Street View Offers an Additional Navigation Option

Another Street View car spotted in the location above

Recently Google Street View saw the addition of user photos for certain locations. Now, Google’s impressive photographic mapping of the world got a little more impressive, thanks to a new navigation approach. Your mouse cursor will now carry a 3D shape that floats over the ground and building walls. “We have been able to accomplish this by making a compact representation of the building facade and road geometry for all the Street View panoramas using laser point clouds and differences between consecutive pictures,” Google says. Double-click the shape – which Google calls “pancake” – and you’ll jump straight to where it was positioned, allowing you to get a quicker impression on points of interest, but also to travel forward much, much faster.

While the new navigation improves the app I did not find it completely intuitive yet. For instance, I expected that using the scroll-wheel would allow me to zoom out of locations, which didn’t work. (And sometimes, when you use the “-” button to the left to zoom out instead, you’ll be kicked out of the Street View mode and back to the map.)

[Hat tip to WebSonic, Hebbet and Reto.]


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