After coming to Gmail and Google Calendar, now it’s the turn of Google Maps to have its own set of experimental tools: Google Maps Labs. Google has added a total of nine new features to its gorgeous online atlas, as you can see in the pop-up windows layered over the Google Maps site when you open it on your browser:
Some of them are a bit silly (like Back to Beta, which adds a Beta tag to the Google Maps logo, or Rotatable Maps, which lets you turn maps upside down. But some others seem to be quite interesting, and I hope they make their way as Google Maps permanent options. My favorite ones so far are:
- Drag ‘n’ Zoom – Makes zooming in on a specific area on your map much easier. Click the Drag ‘n’ Zoom button (right under the zoom slider), draw a square around the are you want to zoom in and you’re done!
- Aerial Imagery – Displays satellite images in a new perspective (a more angled one) that lets you see more than just the building’s roofs. Unfortunately it’s only available in certain locations in the US, but it’s worth a try.
- What’s Around Here? – A handy add-on that displays all sorts of interesting places (hotels, bars, restaurants, shops…) located in the are you’re currently viewing. A whole new way to explore your map!
- Where in the World Game – Labs wouldn’t be the same without a game. Try this one and put your knowledge of geography to the test. Don’t be fooled by the first few easy questions… it gets increasingly difficult!