07 June 2009

Video: Google Street View Gets Usable With Smart Navigation

06 06 2009 - Google’s street-level mapping imagery – called Street View – can at times be useful if you want to see what a place you’re trying to find looks like.

However, if you’ve ever wanted to explore beyond a snapshot of a location, you’ve likely found the user experience fairly cumbersome, if not downright unusable at times.

The Google Maps team has unveiled a new feature that makes actually navigating through Street View significantly better. Now, Maps will show you, “an oval when your mouse is following a road and a rectangle when moving across the facades of buildings.” Google refers to these shapes as “pancakes,” and once you figure out how exactly they work, they turn Street View into a fairly enjoyable – if not highly useful – experience.

The feature seems to be most useful when looking down a street, as opposed to staring directly at the address you’re looking for, which will just zoom you in further when you double-click on the pancake. This means you can potentially move hundreds of yards at a time in Street View, as opposed to however far Google would let you move previously by clicking forwards and backwards arrows.

The prior problem, and the solution, are explained by Google in the video below:


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