Have you seen Google Maps yet?
No, I know you’ve seen it, but have you seen it since it’s all changed?
Since they have added Street View, Videos, Photographs and even frickin’ Wikipedia entries!!!
It seems that gone are the days when maps were just a source of directions, now you need to feel you’ve already been to a place before you ever have.
Anyway, I’m not going to tell you how to negotiate Google Maps, you must know how to do get basic directions but to access all the funky new features you do need to click the ‘More’ button and check the boxes for Video, Photos and Wikipedia. And next to it there’s even a button to view live traffic updates or anticipated road congestion in that area as well.
Not that you’ll be able to even see your route anymore for all the tiny photo thumbnails, video screen icons and the Wikipedia logo covering the whole screen now, but they are easily toggled off from the same menu.
But the startling new feature is Street View, that is if you’re viewing one of the 25 cities in the UK that the Google camera van has so far trundled through, which allows you to swoop down for a 360 degree virtual tour of your location.
And you implement that uncannily enough whenever you see a Street View link or whenever the ‘zoomy-in-and-out-bar-thingee’, that’s the proper technical term, has a little yellow man displayed which you can drag to the part of the map you want to view in all it’s panoramic glory.
Then it’s just a matter of moving forward or back using the onscreen arrows, clicking and dragging the image to move the view around or doing the same with it’s circular navigational tool. But however you use it, you will surely be impressed with how seamlessly and quickly it responds.
Truly, Google Maps with it’s new features is an amazing use of technology particularly as the web becomes increasing mobile. It can be your means of orientation and your informative tour guide. And as it rolls out across the World you can check out an area to see if it’s worth visiting at all.
But I think the Street View will be used just as much as a nostalgic retro sightseeing device after you’ve already been somewhere. For instance, I’ve just enjoyed a weekend in London and I’ve been wandering down Memory Lane by clicking down Drury Lane.
Hold on though, when you think about it, that means using an application even when you don’t need it and you’ll be going from A to B via G even when you’re not leaving A. OMG!
Now can someone direct me to a psychiatrist, I think I just blew my mind.