Step inside the map with Google MapsGL

Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 7:20 AM

You’re now one step closer to experiencing and interacting with a 3D mirror of the real world within your browser with Google MapsGL. Google MapsGL takes Google Maps and harnesses the power of Web Graphics Library (WebGL) to create far richer visuals and animations.

WebGL is a new technology that brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser without additional installed software. With WebGL your maps experience is much better with 3D buildings, smoother transitions between imagery and the ability to instantly “swoop” into Street View without a plugin.



Starting today, if you’re using supported browsers (such as Chrome 14+ or Firefox Beta) with compatible video cards, you can opt in to the early beta release. Visit maps.google.com and click “Try it now,” or visit maps.google.com/gl to learn more.

We’ve been using WebGL to create experiences like our Chrome experiments “3 Dreams of Black” and “All is Not Lost,” which happen right in the browser. Previously, such sophisticated 3D graphics have only been possible on traditional desktop applications and have required manual installation. WebGL ushers in a whole new generation of graphics on the web, and with that, we can begin to redefine the expectations of an online map.

Check out Chrome Experiments WebGL for more WebGL-powered applications, and opt in to Google MapsGL to begin using the next generation of mapping today.