Google keeps making its mapping products more immersive — the latest update to Google Maps adds "photo tours" of over 15,000 locations around the globe. To use photo tours, just do a standard Google Maps search; if the result has a photo tour, it'll be listed in the search results on the left side of the screen. Click the accompanying image, and you'll fly into an animated, full-browser view of your destination, complete with crowd-sourced photos from Picasa and Panoramio (Google's photo site oriented around sharing geo-locations). Behind the scenes, Google is able to find clusters of overlapping photos around certain locations, figure out the 3D shape of the landmark, compute the orientation of each photo, and then select a 3D, animated path through the photos. While its not the most intuitive concept to describe in words, it works pretty well in practice (see Google's example video below). These photo tours rely on Google Maps with WebGL, so make sure you turn that on trying to take a photo tour. Google also helpfully provided a link to Google Maps with all available photo tours highlighted, so just pick a location and start checking out the imagery.
Google Maps now includes 'photo tours' of 15,000 popular landmarks around the world
Google keeps making its mapping products more immersive — the latest update to Google Maps adds "photo tours" of over 15,000 locations around the globe.