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New buttons and options being tested in Google Maps

by Scrvpvlvs
Dec 10, 2010 1:10 PM–I am seeing some changes to the Google Maps user interface. These appear when I am logged in using Chrome, and not when I am using a Chrome incognito window. So perhaps I have been included in a beta test. Here is a slide show of the changes I noticed.

Click an image to zoom in.

PHOTO "0". This is a Chrome incognito window and shows the previous (stock) interface that I am familiar with. Just for comparison.

PHOTO 1. The new features are a dot above Orange Guy (this is actually visible in PHOTO 0 but it's the first I've noticed it), different Satellite and Traffic buttons, a magnifying zoom icon on the left hand side of the map, and a ruler icon at the bottom left corner of the map.

PHOTO 2. When the mouse hovers over the Satellite button, the controls area expands to show more options: the Earth button and various map feature that can be shown (checked), hidden (unchecked), or deleted (xed).

PHOTO 3. Expanding the "more" button adds additional map options, such as exploring an area through Wikipedia articles.

PHOTO 4. Clicking the dot above Orange Guy queries the browser for physical location to display it on the map, similar to Google Latitude. The strip across the top is the Chrome browser getting permission to share the physical location with Google Maps.

PHOTO 5. The ruler icon uncovers a distance measurement tool. Supply your own route as points along the path, and Google Maps will calculate the total distance.

PHOTO 6. Choosing "I'm feeling geeky" offers a wide variety of modern, historical, and "quirky" distance units to choose from.

PHOTO 7. The magnifying zoom icon lets you select a rectangular area. This takes most of the guesswork out of choosing an an appropriate zoom level, which seems like a great feature.

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