Google Maps Now Has a “Labs” Feature Too

Now Gmail isn’t the only Google (s goog) offering with a “labs” section that offers experimental features: A reader tipped Google Blogoscoped off to the addition of the lab’s green flask icon to Google Maps, which has been given some cool new features as well. Among them are a new “aerial imagery” setting that has been added to the existing map, with terrain and satellite buttons at the top of the map view. While similar to satellite view, it gives viewers a different angle to look at, rather than the typical straight-down view that satellite imagery provides. Google says aerial images (which appear to have been taken by a plane) are only available for certain locations though, including — of course — the Googleplex itself, which appears in the photo at the top of this post.

The other features that have been added include:

  • Drag ’n’ Zoom — Lets you click and drag the cursor to create a square around any point, and then zoom to that point
  • What’s Around Here? — Adds a second search button that looks for key sights and features around a specific location
  • LatLng Tooltip — Displays a tooltip next to the mouse cursor that shows the latitude/ longitude of that spot
  • Where In The World Game — Lets you test your knowledge of world geography by guessing the name of the country from satellite imagery
  • Rotatable Maps — Lets you drag and rotate the compass to see the map from any direction
  • Smart Zoom — Stops the map from zooming in to a detail level where no imagery exists, and prevents the message “We don’t have imagery at this zoom level.”

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