Google Maps goes 3D

Google announced today that it would offer more sweet features for Google Maps and Google Earth to make looking up your own house even better.

The new plans include 3D maps of major cities and different views of new places, such as national parks.

The unveiling comes after feuds with Apple, which is reported to be looking to replace Google Maps in its products with its own services.

Google vice president Brian McClendon did not comment on the disputes.

He did, however, say that the current additions are available on Apple products and other devices:

“I’m very proud of Google Maps services. We’ll continue to make Google Map services available as widely as possible.”

Other additions benefit non-iPhone users – yes, they do exist – as it will allow those on Androids and other devices to download portions of Google Maps, even without an active Internet connection.

Google also hired a team of backpackers equipped with cameras to obtain Street View images of remote areas like national parks and hiking trails.

And remember that thing about 3D images? Well, the badass folks at Google are using a fleet of chartered planes to take detailed aerial images of every street and building in every major city. The images will then be combined to give an appearance of three-dimensional depth. According to Birch:

“We’re trying to create the illusion that you are flying over the city, almost as if you were in your own personal helicopter.”

Of course, projects like these take lots of time. According to Google product manager Peter Birch, some cities will be viewable in 3D in a matter of months, but there is no real timetable for completion.

As far as Apple goes, it is said that they will be releasing their own maps services as early as next week, complete with 3D images as well.