MAP LABS

winchester-mystery-houseGoogle Maps has a “labs” feature. Click the little green bottle icon when you’re at maps.google.com to see nine new features.  There’s “What’s Around Here” to show you points of interest near the search destination. There’s “Drag and Zoom,” which lets you zoom in on just a part of the map. There’s “Where in the World,” a geography game. You can even rotate the map so North isn’t up.

When you enable “aerial imagery,” you immediately get a list of spots with aerial photos. We looked at the Pittock Mansion in Portland, Oregon and the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. (This is a crazy place built by a crazy woman, who in her time was the richest widow in America. Her husband invented the Winchester rifle.) They don’t have many aerial views yet, and we found that a bug turned it off every time we revisited the maps page, but it’s still interesting.

Google Maps will soon be adding “In Store” views to their “Street Views” feature. Instead of just seeing what a storefront looks like, you’ll be able to go in.

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