If you felt like Google clubbed you over the head with tons of announcements and releases last week, you're not alone. Between giving out the codename for Android M, a new preview release, an Android Wear update, and about a dozen other things, it was a huge week. Toward the end of the onslaught, a fairly innocuous update to Google Maps bumped the version up to 9.13 and it has a couple of useful shortcuts that deserve a look. There's also a new Google app, but it's not in the Play Store, and that deserves a Teardown-style discussion of its own.
Google Maps lets you take a look at cities and landmarks from all over the world, but its Street View feature primarily allows you to take a virtual walk along roads and sidewalks. Yet that hasn't stopped Google from using it to show off the world's natural beauties and majestic man-made monuments alike. Without leaving your seat, you can view the Pyramids of Giza, and the beautifully cold parts of Greenland. Now Google will let you experience what it's like to ride a zip line through the Amazon rainforest.
Greenland is a beautiful country situated at the top of North America but culturally associated with Europe. Now after working with Visit Greenland and Asiaq, Google is ready to share some of the island's treasures with more of the world though Street View.
Dear Egyptian readers: yes, we know you're out there. We're sorry to report that Google Street View still isn't available for the vast majority of your country. And while you'd surely prefer Street View in Cairo or Alexandria for the sake of convenience, at least Google has made a small stop in Egypt... at the place where all the other Americans go first, the Giza Necropolis. Street View is now available in and around the pyramid complex.
Google has taken its trademark Street View rigs around the Great Pyramid, the Pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure, the Great Sphinx, and the various smaller pyramids, tombs, and monuments that still stand in the area.
If you're even remotely interested in high-end gaming, you've probably heard of Destiny, also known as "that shooting MMO game that's kinda like Halo from the people who made Halo." The marketing team for Destiny has decided to team up with Google to create an interesting way for excited players (or prospective players) to check out the environments of the game. It's called Destiny Planet View, and it blasts the Google Street View interface into the solar system for a look at some fictional alien worlds.
The moon, Mars, and Venus are all populated with pre-rendered environments from Destiny laid out in Street View's signature style.
Google has a relatively easy time mapping out the US, but things get trickier the further overseas it explores. Each international border brings about its own set of laws and organizations that the tech giant must accommodate. When Google began working with Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy a couple years ago to map out much of the large country of over 200 million, it was undertaking its largest Asian expansion to date. Now the company is sharing the fruits of their labor, along with shots of its progress in Cambodia.
Google Maps users can now take a virtual stroll along the streets of Jakarta, Surabaya, and other Indonesian cities.
Street View's name doesn't fully capture what the service is good for. Yes, it makes getting the feel for a new city or campus cheap and easy, but it's perfectly capable of providing shots of places other than streets as well. Google has recently taken Street View to some of the most impressive areas of Iceland and is doing its part to share the region's beauty with the rest of the world.
Street View has come to 36 universities across the US and Canada. As we approach the start of another academic year, students and their parents (and everyone else) now have the option to get to know campuses by taking a virtual tour. The list is admittedly not comprehensive, but it contains beautiful views of Georgetown University, the University of Miami, and the University of Regina, to name a few.
Though Google explicitly points out the three universities above in its announcement, it has provided a list of others so that we don't have to go through the effort of hunting for these campuses ourselves.