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Google unveils major Maps upgrade

Search giant Google has revealed a new feature which enables users to produce Street View content for any  location.

The Street View service currently offered by Google allows users to take 360 degree tours of cities, towns and attractions across the world. More recently, the company started to map buildings like airports and train stations.

The new service, however, will see tech fans given the power to produce the content for areas that Google is yet to reach. This can be achieved using either a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera, or even just an Android smartphone.

Once the images have been taken, they are merged together and connected with other users’ submissions. They can then be browsed through Google Maps.

According to the Californian company, the tool will boost the reach of its already-popular maps service. It said in an official blog post:

“We are excited to see the different types of Street View experiences that everyone will contribute.

“For example, this feature can now enable environmental non-profits to document and promote the beautiful places they strive to protect.

“It also opens up a new tool for photographers to showcase diversity in a specific location – by times of day, weather conditions or cultural events – in a way that Street View currently doesn’t cover.”

Digital mapping services have been a major area of growth in the last few years, perhaps as a result of the rapid growth in the popularity of tablet computers and smartphones. Experts have suggested that Google, which is already one of the sector’s key players, is looking to boost its presence in the area even further.

An example of these intentions could be seen in the recent acquisition of Israel-based social map firm Waze. When announcing the purchase, Google explained its plans to use the service’s traffic updates system to improve its own Maps offering.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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