On Google Maps, there are three map type options: Default; Terrain, which shows an approximation of the land's texture; and Satellite, which features real-life aerial imagery. In a series of tweets over the weekend, Maps co-creator Bret Taylor explained how the Maps team prevented Satellite view from shipping with a very silly name: Bird Mode.

A lot of the "satellite" imagery in Google Maps wasn't actually taken by satellites; it's really aerial photography, shot from airplanes. Taylor thought that detail was irrelevant to the end user experience, and given that "aerial photography" was too long a phrase to use in the Maps UI, figured it was best to just stick with "satellite."

The nomenclature became something of a point of contention, though, and the final pre-release review of the feature in 2005 devolved into a long discussion about what to call it. Names like "Airplane view" and "Superman" were suggested, but Google co-founder Sergey Brin got in the final suggestion before the meeting was over. "Let's call it Bird Mode," he said.

The Maps team hated the idea, and ultimately decided to overrule Brin.

You can read Taylor's full, GIF-laden account of the incident in this thread. It's a fun anecdote, and an interesting look into how Google operated at the time.