“See inside” with Google Maps Business View

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 9:01 PM

Here’s a Google Maps insider tip: Street View isn’t just for streets—it goes indoors, too! With Google Maps Business View, you can preview 360-degree virtual tours of restaurants, hotels, shops in more than 30 countries around the world. And this just in: we’ve got something special for fans of The Colbert Report.

The series concludes tomorrow, but you can still feel like you’re in the audience (or relive the good ol’ days) with a brand-new virtual tour of the studio. And the show has created an interactive experience with the Business View imagery that lets you explore and remember some of your favorite moments from the show. And for those who want to tour more entertainment and news studios, check out our Views gallery.

Business View may also be your best new travel companion. Whether you’re traveling to see your family for the holidays or planning a romantic getaway for the new year, you probably want to make sure the ambiance of the hotel is right for the occasion. With Business View, you can see inside thousands of hotels around the world on Google, including hundreds of Best Western and Hilton hotel locations (pool included!).

In addition to finding the right spot to lay your head, you can turn to Business View to find the perfect restaurant for a meal out with friends, or get a sense of whether a tourist destination is worth the trip. Check out the decor and vibe of dazzling restaurants like Riad Nejma in Paris, Alux Restaurant Bar in Playa del Carmen, and REN in Tokyo.

To access Business View on your desktop, mobile or tablet, look for the “See Inside” marker on Maps, Search and Google+, which will take you into the virtual tour of your destination. You might be surprised what you find inside.

Map this way—Google My Maps now in Drive

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Whether you’re planning an epic road trip with friends or mapping out your favorite runs for a ski vacation, it’s easy with Google My Maps, our custom map creation tool. Starting today, you can access My Maps right from Google Drive, so it’s even easier to create, access and share your custom maps.

Creating a custom map is just as easy as opening up a new Google Doc. Just select “New,” then “More,” then “Google My Maps” to tap into your inner cartographer.

Create a new custom map right from Google Drive

Over the next week, all the maps you’ve created will also be accessible in Google Drive, so you can easily organize, manage and share them. Create folders such as “Travel,” “Hiking” and “Holidays,” and search through them to find your favorite custom maps—which might be as varied as Fourth of July Trip, Half Marathon, or SantaCon.

Magic City Half Marathon & 5K

In addition to accessing your Google My Maps in Drive, you can now add more layers and points of interest to your map, import bigger spreadsheets and include more details in each info box. Whether you’re mapping out the best surf spots down under or campgrounds in California, you can add all your favorite areas with more details across even more layers.

Whatever your needs for the holiday season, the new year and beyond, Google My Maps—now accessible in Google Drive—makes planning that much easier.

Posted by Dylan Lorimer, Product Manager, Google My Maps

Drive by Dubai with Street View

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Dubai is home to the world’s tallest tower, largest mall and the planet’s only seven-star hotel. With all these modern wonders, it’s no surprise that Dubai hosted 10 million global visitors last year—and aims to hit a record-breaking 20 million visitors in 2020. Starting today, it can add virtual visitors to that list, as Dubai becomes the first city in an Arab country to be added to Street View in Google Maps.

Start your tour with a drive on Sheikh Zayed Road, the longest road in the Emirates that runs in parallel to the coastline. Peer up at the city’s iconic skyscrapers and high-rise towers that, in some cases, reach more than 1,000 feet into the clouds. On one side, you can see the city’s elevated and driverless metro system.

Along Financial Road, pass Dubai Mall, home to thousands of shops. But with an average of 75 million visitors every year, the mall is more than just a retail space. Inside is a 10 million-liter aquarium -- one of the largest suspended tanks in the world -- and a facing it there is a flock of famous dancing fountains.

Most of Dubai’s buildings were constructed in the last decade, but if you’re curious to go back to where it all began, visit Deira. Here, the great-grandfathers of present-day merchants set up shop, creating one of the region’s biggest markets and establishing a major link in the time’s global trade routes.

Finally, no visit of Dubai is complete without touring the Dubai Creek. Known for its fusion of past and present cultures, and its trading connections with countries around and beyond the Arabian Gulf, along its banks you can see merchant dhows docked and bazaars bustling with silks and spices.

It’s hard to believe that a city not much larger than 4,000 square kilometers has become such a hub of modern culture with more than 200 nationalities mingling daily, as well as a center for trade and tourism in just four short decades. We hope that you’ll be inspired to explore its wonders in person, but until then, they’re just a click away.

Viva La Espana: 50 new Street View sights in Spain

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 4:00 AM

The Iberian Peninsula has a rich and varied artistic, architectural and cultural legacy. Roman remains, Al-Andalus, Gothic splendor and 19th century Catalan modernism are just a few examples of what you might see travelling around Spain’s cities and countryside. And starting today, people all over the world will be able to explore 50 new iconic locations in Spain with Street View on Google Maps.

Peruse architectural details of the Alhambra and Generalife, walk around the Tower of Hercules (a Roman Empire-era lighthouse), and gaze up at the vast arched ceiling of the crypt at the Church of Sagrada Familia.

In addition to these famed sights, you can also discover lesser-known treasures. Visit the desertlike world of the Bardenas Reales natural park in southeast Navarre, Neoclassic architecture at the Congress of Deputies and colorful stained-glass windows in the Cathedral of León. Or make a trip to the small medieval town of Albarracín, a walled lordship that has stood for centuries.

This 360-degree imagery was collected by our Trekker, a backpack equipped with Street View technology that allows the wearer to capture imagery while walking. To capture details of the fine art and architecture inside these magnificent sites, we enlisted the help of the Trolley. And for more sprawling locations, the trusty Trike captured imagery while its rider pedaled.

If this collection piques your interest to see these locations in person, you’re in good company. In fact, according to the survey on the Impact of Online Content on European Tourism, more than half of EU travelers consult Internet sites and social media in order to get information about trips. But even if you’re not planning un vacación anytime soon, the wonders of Spain are now just a click away.

A moment of zen: 100 incredible satellite images of planet Earth

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 7:38 AM

Thanksgiving weekend was a busy one for many Americans. Traveling, shopping, cooking, and visits with friends and family can be a bit hectic. For a mental break, we invite you to visit Earth View, a collection of 100 beautiful images from around the world, all taken from Google Maps’ satellite imagery. Landscapes from every continent are included, even Antarctica.
While you’re browsing, you can visit the location in Google Maps or download a high-res wallpaper formatted for your computer, smartphone or tablet. For Chrome desktop users, we’ve also released a Chrome extension that lets you see even more imagery. We hope you enjoy this virtual vacation… no actual travel required. Relax with a hot beverage, keep exploring, and if you find a particularly beautiful spot not on our site, please share it with us in the comments.
Posted by Aaron Koblin, Data Arts Team