Jon Fingas

Google Maps now offers 3D aerial views of famous landmarks

Google’s 3D “global view” isn’t quite ready, but you can get a glimpse of it starting today. The company is rolling out updates to Google Maps for Android and iOS devices that provide aerial views of nearly 100 iconic landmarks, including Alcatraz in San Francisco, Big Ben in London and the Empire State Building in New York City. The feature combines artificial intelligence with billions of images (including satellite and Street View footage) to create realistic 3D renderings. Google offers this as a preview tool for tourists, but it’s also an easy way to satisfy your curiosity without booking a flight.

Aerial views are available to users all over the world. If one is available, just find a landmark in Google Maps and visit the Photos section.

The Google

There are also a pair of more traditional but very practical upgrades. Google is upgrading Maps bike navigation with more detailed routing information, including heavy vehicle traffic, stairs, steep hills, and road types (such as a main road versus a side street). You will also have an easier time comparing methods. Cycling upgrades will reach “hundreds” of cities in the coming weeks.

On top of that, there are new location sharing notifications that let you know when a friend arrives at (or leaves) a particular place. This can help you know when your fellow attendees will arrive at the venue, for example. Notifications are turned on only for people who have already agreed to share their location, and Google promises app and email notifications to ensure people don’t leave sharing enabled for longer than necessary.

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