The day before Google was set to show the world the new version of Maps at last year’s I/O conference in San Francisco, its biggest problem was extraterrestrial. Across a blue, reflective ocean streaked with clouds that were being projected in real time, engineers saw a big black speck. The zoomed-out Google Earth view of the world, which was being integrated into Maps for the first time, appeared to be broken — but it turned out that the bug was a feature.

The new Maps tracks sun and moon cycles, and it happened that the day before I/O brought a solar eclipse. The blotch they saw on the world map was an accurately rendered shadow of the moon. The team breathed a sigh of relief, and the next day’s presentation went on to garner cheers from a sellout crowd of developers.

It's been nearly a year now since we saw a brand-new version of Google Maps, rebuilt from the ground up to integrate Street View, Google Earth, and the rest of Google's location services into a single place. Gone was the old site, with its tile-based maps and cluttered interface. In its place was a more robust, vector-based map offering edge-to-edge images and detailed inline directions. The new Google Maps has been available to users who request an invitation since May — but starting today, it's becoming the default version for all users. It's the most powerful Maps ever, but anyone still using the older version may find that this is a redesign that takes some getting used to.