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Google Maps is a
web mapping Web most often refers to: * Spider web, a silken structure created by the animal * World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information s ...
platform and consumer application offered by
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
. It offers
satellite imagery Satellite images (also Earth observation imagery, spaceborne photography, or simply satellite photo) are images of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's su ...
,
aerial photography Aerial photography (or airborne imagery) is the taking of photographs from an aircraft or other flying object. Platforms for aerial photography include fixed-wing aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining sup ...
, street maps, 360° interactive panoramic views of streets (
Street View Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides interactive panoramas from positions along many streets in the world. It was launched in 2007 in several cities in the United States, and has since expan ...

Street View
), real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for traveling by foot, car, air (in
beta Beta (, ; uppercase , lowercase , or ; grc, βῆτα, bē̂ta or ell, βήτα, víta) is the second letter of the . In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 2. In , beta represented the . In , it represents the (while in foreig ...

beta
) and
public transportation Public transport (also known as public transportation, public transit, mass transit, or simply transit) is a system of transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, movement of hum ...

public transportation
. , Google Maps was being used by over 1 billion people every month around the world. Google Maps began as a
C++ C++ () is a general-purpose programming language In computer software, a general-purpose programming language is a programming language dedicated to a general-purpose, designed to be used for writing software in a wide variety of application ...

C++
desktop program developed by brothers
Lars Lars is a common male name in Germanic languages, Germanic-speaking countries, excluding the Anglosphere. Origin ''Lars'' is derived from the Roman name ''Laurentius (disambiguation), Laurentius'', which means "from Laurentum" or "crowned with laur ...
and Jens Rasmussen at Where 2 Technologies. In October 2004, the company was acquired by Google, which converted it into a web application. After additional acquisitions of a geospatial data visualization company and a real time traffic analyzer, Google Maps was launched in February 2005. The service's front end utilizes
JavaScript JavaScript (), often abbreviated JS, is a programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/output, output. Programming lang ...

JavaScript
,
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable fro ...

XML
, and
Ajax Ajax (also AJAX ; short for "Asynchronous and ") is a set of techniques using many web technologies on the to create s. With Ajax, web applications can send and retrieve data from a asynchronously (in the background) without interfering wi ...
. Google Maps offers an
API In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and soft ...
that allows maps to be embedded on third-party websites, and offers a locator for businesses and other organizations in numerous countries around the world.
Google Map Maker Google Map Maker was a map editing service launched by Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational f ...
allowed users to collaboratively expand and update the service's mapping worldwide but was discontinued from March 2017. However, crowdsourced contributions to Google Maps were not discontinued as the company announced those features would be transferred to the Google Local Guides program. Google Maps' satellite view is a "top-down" or
bird's-eye view A literal bird's eye view, shot by the bird itself A bird's-eye view is an elevated view of an object from above, with a perspective as though the observer were a bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the ...

bird's-eye view
; most of the high-resolution imagery of cities is
aerial photography Aerial photography (or airborne imagery) is the taking of photographs from an aircraft or other flying object. Platforms for aerial photography include fixed-wing aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining sup ...
taken from aircraft flying at , while most other imagery is from satellites. Much of the available satellite imagery is no more than three years old and is updated on a regular basis. Google Maps previously used a variant of the
Mercator projection The Mercator projection () is a cylindrical map projection presented by Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language. It is sometimes referred to as Flemish Dutch (), Belgian Dutch ( ), or Souther ...

Mercator projection
, and therefore could not accurately show areas around the poles. In August 2018, the desktop version of Google Maps was updated to show a 3D globe. It is still possible to switch back to the 2D map in the settings. Google Maps for
Android Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (operating system)#Mascot, Unnamed Androi ...

Android
and
iOS iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPod Touch; the t ...

iOS
devices was released in September 2008 and features
GPS The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national ...
turn-by-turn navigation Turn-by-turn Navigation is a feature of some GPS navigation device A satellite navigation device, colloquially called a GPS receiver, or simply a GPS, is a device that is capable of receiving information from GNSS satellites and then to calcul ...
along with dedicated
parking Parking is the act of stopping and disengaging a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied. Parking on one or both sides of a road is often permitted, though sometimes with restrictions. Some buildings have parking facilities for use of the buildings' ...

parking
assistance features. In August 2013, it was determined to be the world's most popular
smartphone A smartphone is a Mobile device, portable device that combines Mobile phone, mobile telephone and Mobile computing, computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and exten ...

smartphone
app, with over 54% of global smartphone owners using it. In May 2017, the app has reported to have 2 billion users on Android, along with several other Google services including
YouTube YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform Social media are interactive technologies that allow the Content creation, creation or information sharing, sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, an ...

YouTube
,
Chrome
Chrome
,
Gmail Gmail is a free service provided by . As of 2019, it had 1.5 billion active worldwide. A user typically accesses Gmail in a or the official . Google also supports the use of s via the and protocols. At its launch in 2004, Gmail provided ...
, Search, and
Google Play Google Play, also branded as the Google Play Store and formerly Android Market, is a digital distribution Digital distribution (also referred to as content delivery, online distribution, or electronic software distribution (ESD), among other ...

Google Play
.


History


Acquisitions

Google Maps first started as a
C++ C++ () is a general-purpose programming language In computer software, a general-purpose programming language is a programming language dedicated to a general-purpose, designed to be used for writing software in a wide variety of application ...

C++
program designed by two Danish brothers,
Lars Lars is a common male name in Germanic languages, Germanic-speaking countries, excluding the Anglosphere. Origin ''Lars'' is derived from the Roman name ''Laurentius (disambiguation), Laurentius'', which means "from Laurentum" or "crowned with laur ...
and
Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen is a Danish software engineer, technology executive, and co-founder of Google Maps Google Maps is a web mapping product developed at Google Google LLC is an American Multinational corporation, multinational techno ...
, and Noel Gordon and Stephen Ma, at th
Sydney-based
company Where 2 Technologies. It was first designed to be separately downloaded by users, but the company later pitched the idea for a purely Web-based product to Google management, changing the method of distribution. In October 2004, the company was acquired by
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
Inc. where it transformed into the web application Google Maps. In the same month, Google acquired
Keyhole A lock is a mechanical Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Mechanical system A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine tha ...

Keyhole
, a geospatial data visualization company (with investment from the
CIA The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as "The Agency" and "The Company", is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. ...

CIA
), whose marquee application suite, Earth Viewer, emerged as the highly successful
Google Earth Google Earth is a computer program, formerly known as Keyhole EarthViewer, that renders a 3D computer graphics, 3D representation of Earth based primarily on satellite imagery. The program maps the Earth by superimposition, superimposing satell ...
application in 2005 while other aspects of its core technology were integrated into Google Maps. In September 2004, Google acquired ZipDash, a company that provided realtime traffic analysis.


2005–2010

The launch of Google Maps was first announced on the Google Blog on February 8, 2005. In September 2005, in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive Category 5 Atlantic hurricane A Category 5 Atlantic hurricane is a tropical cyclone that reaches Category 5 intensity on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, within the Atlantic Ocean to ...
, Google Maps quickly updated its satellite imagery of
New Orleans New Orleans (,New Orleans
Merriam-Webster.
; french: La Nouvelle-Orléans ) is a Consolidat ...

New Orleans
to allow users to view the extent of the flooding in various parts of that city. As of 2007, Google Maps is equipped with a miniature view with a draggable rectangle that denotes the area shown in the main viewport, and "Info windows" for previewing details about locations on maps. On November 28, 2007, Google Maps for Mobile 2.0 was released. It featured a
beta version A software release life cycle is the sum of the stages of development and maturity for a piece of computer software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry ...

beta version
of a "My Location" feature, which uses the GPS /
Assisted GPS Assisted GNSS (A-GNSS) is a GNSS augmentation system that often significantly improves the startup performance—i.e., time-to-first-fix (TTFF)—of a global navigation satellite system (GNSS). A-GNSS works by providing the necessary data to the ...
location of the mobile device, if available, supplemented by determining the nearest
wireless networks A wireless network is a computer network that uses wireless data connections between network nodes. Wireless networking is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and business installations avoid the costly process of introducing cab ...

wireless networks
and
cell site A cell site, cell tower, or cellular base station is a cellular-enabled mobile device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical o ...
s. The software looks up the location of the cell site using a database of known wireless networks and sites. By triangulating the different signal strengths from cell transmitters and then using their location property (retrieved from the database), My Location determines the user's current location. On September 23, 2008, coinciding with the announcement of the first commercial Android device, Google announced that a Google Maps app had been released for its Android operating system. In October 2009, Google replaced
Tele Atlas Tele Atlas is a Netherlands-based company founded in 1984 which delivers digital maps and other dynamic content for navigation and location-based services, including personal and Automotive navigation system, in-car navigation systems, and provid ...
as their primary supplier of geospatial data in the US version of Maps and used their own data.


2011–2015

On April 19, 2011, Map Maker was added to the American version of Google Maps, allowing any viewer to edit and add changes to Google Maps. This provides Google with local map updates almost in real-time instead of waiting for digital map data companies to release more infrequent updates. On January 31, 2012, Google, due to offering its Maps for free, was found guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Google Maps application and ordered by a court to pay a fine and damages to Bottin Cartographer, a French mapping company. This ruling was overturned on appeal. In June 2012, Google started mapping Britain's rivers and canals in partnership with the Canal and River Trust. The company has stated that it would update the program during the year to allow users to plan trips which include locks, bridges and towpaths along the 2,000 miles of river paths in the UK. In December 2012, the Google Maps application was separately made available in the App Store, after Apple removed it from its default installation of the mobile operating system version
iOS 6 iOS 6 is the iOS version history, sixth major release of the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc, being the successor to iOS 5. It was announced at the company's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Worldwide Developers Confere ...
in September 2012. On January 29, 2013, Google Maps was updated to include a map of
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
. , Google Maps recognizes
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
as a country, instead of redirecting to the
Palestinian territories The term "Palestinian territories" has been used for many years to describe the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 within the former Mandatory Palestine, British Mandate for Palestine, namely the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and t ...

Palestinian territories
. In August 2013, Google Maps removed the Wikipedia Layer, which provided links to Wikipedia content about locations shown in Google Maps using Wikipedia geocodes. On April 12, 2014, Google Maps was updated to reflect the 2014 Crimean crisis. Crimea is shown as the
Republic of Crimea The Republic of Crimea (, , ), translit. Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wikt:littera#Latin, liter-'') ...
in Russia and as the
Autonomous Republic of Crimea The Autonomous Republic of Crimea ( uk, Автономна Республіка Крим, ''Avtonomna Respublika Krym''; russian: Автономная Республика Крым, ''Avtonomnaya Respublika Krym''; crh, Qırım Muhtar Cumhu ...
in Ukraine. All other versions show a dotted disputed border. In April 2015, on a map near the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, the imagery of the Android logo urinating on the Apple logo was added via Map Maker and appeared on Google Maps. The vandalism was soon removed and Google publicly apologized. However, as a result, Google disabled user moderation on Map Maker, and on May 12, disabled editing worldwide until it could devise a new policy for approving edits and avoiding vandalism. On April 29, 2015, users of the classic Google Maps were forwarded to the new Google Maps with the option to be removed from the interface. On July 14, 2015, the
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...

Chinese
name for
Scarborough Shoal Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc (in Spanish), Panatag Shoal ( fil, Kulumpol ng Panatag, lit=serene cluster), Huangyan Island ( Mandarin zh, c=黄岩岛, p=Huáng Yán Dăo, l=yellow rock island), and Democracy Reef, are two ro ...
was removed after a petition from the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
was posted on
Change.org Change.org is an American online petition, petition website operated by San Francisco-based Change.org, which has over 400 million users and offers the public the ability to promote the petitions they care about to potential signers. including 19 ...

Change.org
.


2016–2018

On June 27, 2016, Google rolled out new satellite imagery worldwide sourced from
Landsat 8 Landsat 8 is an American Earth observationEarth observation (EO) is the gathering of information about the physical, chemical, and biosphere, biological systems of the planet via remote sensing, remote-sensing technologies, supplemented by arth ...
, comprising over 700 trillion pixels of new data. In September 2016, Google Maps acquired mapping analytics startup Urban Engines. In 2016, the Government of South Korea offered Google conditional access to the country's geographic database – access that already allows indigenous Korean mapping providers high-detail maps. Google declined the offer, as it was unwilling to accept restrictions on reducing the quality around locations the South Korean Government felt were sensitive. On October 16, 2017, Google Maps was updated with accessible imagery of several planets and moons such as
Titan Titan most often refers to: * Titan (moon), the largest moon of Saturn * Titans, a race of deities in Greek mythology Titan or Titans may also refer to: Arts and entertainment Fictional entities Fictional locations * Titan in fiction, fictional ...
,
Mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

Mercury
, and
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Venus (mythology), Roman goddess of love and beauty. As List of brightest natural objects in the sky, the brightest natural object in Earth's night sky after the Moon, Venus can ...

Venus
, as well as direct access to imagery of the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
and
Mars Mars is the fourth planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to ...

Mars
. In May 2018, Google announced major changes to the API structure starting June 11, 2018. This change consolidated the 18 different endpoints into three services and merged the basic and premium plans into one pay-as-you-go plan. This meant a 1400% price raise for users on the basic plan, with only six weeks of notice. This caused a harsh reaction within the developers community. In June, Google postponed the change date to July 16, 2018. In August 2018, Google Maps designed its overall view (when zoomed out completely) into a 3D globe dropping the
Mercator projection The Mercator projection () is a cylindrical map projection presented by Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language. It is sometimes referred to as Flemish Dutch (), Belgian Dutch ( ), or Souther ...

Mercator projection
that projected the planet onto a flat surface.


2019–present

In January 2019, Google Maps added speed trap and
speed camera In everyday use and in kinematics Kinematics is a subfield of physics, developed in classical mechanics, that describes the motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the ...
alerts as reported by other users. On October 17, 2019, Google Maps was updated to include incident reporting, resembling a functionality in
Waze Waze ( he, ווייז, ; formerly FreeMap Israel) is a subsidiary A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter company is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, w ...
which was acquired by Google in 2013. In December 2019, Incognito mode was added, allowing users to enter destinations without saving entries to their Google accounts. In February 2020, Maps received a 15th anniversary redesign. It notably added a brand-new app icon, which now resembles the original icon in 2005. On 23 September 2020,
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
announced a COVID-19 Layer update for Google maps, which is designed to offer a seven-day average data of the total COVID-19-positive cases per 100,000 people in the area selected on the map. It also features a label indicating the rise and fall in the number of cases. In January 2021, Google announced that it will be launching a new feature which is displaying the COVID-19 vaccinations sites. In January 2021 Google announced updates to the route planner that will accommodate drivers of electric vehicles. Routing will take into account the type of vehicle, vehicle status including current charge, and the location of charging stations.


Functionality


Directions and transit

Google Maps provides a
route planner A journey planner, trip planner, or route planner is a specialized search engine used to find an optimal means of travelling between two or more given locations, sometimes using more than one Mode of transport, transport mode. Searches may be opti ...
, allowing users to find available directions through driving, public transportation, walking, or biking. Google has partnered globally with over 800 public transportation providers to adopt General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), making the data available to third parties. The app can indicate users' transit route in an October 2019 update. The incognito mode, eyes-free walking navigation features were released earlier. A July 2020 update provided bike share routes.


Traffic conditions

In 2007, Google began offering traffic data as a colored overlay on top of roads and motorways to represent the speed of vehicles on particular roads.
Crowdsourcing Crowdsourcing is a sourcing model in which individuals or organizations obtain goods or services, including ideas, voting, micro-tasks and finances, from a large, relatively open and often rapidly evolving group of participants. , crowdsourc ...

Crowdsourcing
is used to obtain the GPS-determined locations of a large number of cellphone users, from which live traffic maps are produced. Google has stated that the speed and location information it collects to calculate traffic conditions is anonymous. Options available in each phone's settings allow users not to share information about their location with Google Maps. Google stated, "Once you disable or opt out of My Location, Maps will not continue to send radio information back to Google servers to determine your handset's approximate location".


Street View

On May 25, 2007, Google released
Google Street View Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps Google Maps is a web mapping Web most often refers to: * Spider web, a silken structure created by the animal * World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web in ...

Google Street View
, a new feature of Google Maps which provides 360° panoramic street-level views of various locations. On the date of release, the feature only included five cities in the US. It has since expanded to thousands of locations around the world. In July 2009, Google began mapping college campuses and surrounding paths and trails. Street View garnered much controversy after its release because of privacy concerns about the uncensored nature of the panoramic photographs, although the views are only taken on public streets. Since then, Google has begun blurring faces and license plates through automated . In late 2014, Google launched Google Underwater Street View, including of the Australian
Great Barrier Reef The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology), polyps held tog ...

Great Barrier Reef
in 3D. The images are taken by special cameras which turn 360 degrees and take shots every 3 seconds. In 2017, in both Google Maps and Google Earth, Street View navigation of the International Space Station interior spaces became available.


45° imagery

In December 2009, Google introduced a new view consisting of 45° angle aerial imagery, offering a "
bird's-eye view A literal bird's eye view, shot by the bird itself A bird's-eye view is an elevated view of an object from above, with a perspective as though the observer were a bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the ...

bird's-eye view
" of cities. The first cities available were San Jose and
San Diego San Diego ( , ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border, Mexican border. With a 2020 population of 1,386,932, San Diego is the List of United ...
. This feature was initially available only to developers via the Google Maps API. In February 2010, it was introduced as an experimental feature in Google Maps Labs. In July 2010, 45° imagery was made available in Google Maps in select cities in South Africa, the United States, Germany and Italy.


Business listings

Google collates business listings from multiple on-line and off-line sources. To reduce duplication in the index, Google's algorithm combines listings automatically based on address, phone number, or geocode, but sometimes information for separate businesses will be inadvertently merged with each other, resulting in listings inaccurately incorporating elements from multiple businesses. Google allows business owners to create and verify their own business data through ''Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business''. Owners are encouraged to provide Google with Business information including; address, phone number, business category and photos. Google has staff in India who check and correct listings remotely as well as support businesses with issues. Google also has teams on the ground in most countries, that validate physical addresses in person. After the business listing has been verified, business owners can further optimize their profile by logging into their Google account and GMB dashboard. In mid August 2020 Google made it more convenient for business owners t
edit their business profile directly from search
simply by typing the word My business or their company name. Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business allows businesses to create a website for free. Google Maps can be manipulated by businesses which are not physically located in the area in which they record a listing. There are cases of people abusing Google Maps to overtake their competition by placing unverified listings on online directory sites knowing the information will roll across to Google (duplicate sites). The people who update these listings do not use a registered business name. Keywords and location details are placed on their Google Maps business title which can overtake credible business listings. In Australia in particular, genuine companies and businesses are noticing a trend of fake business listings in a variety of industries. Genuine business owners can also optimise their business listings to gain greater visibility in Google Maps, through a type of search engine marketing called Local search engine optimisation.


Indoor maps

In March 2011, indoor maps were added to Google Maps, giving users the ability to navigate themselves within buildings such as airports, museums, shopping malls, big-box stores, universities, transit stations, and other public spaces (including underground facilities). Google encourages owners of public facilities to submit floor plans of their buildings in order to add them to the service. Map users can view different floors of a building or subway station by clicking on a level selector that is displayed near any structures which are mapped on multiple levels.


My Maps

My Maps is a feature in Google Maps launched in April 2007 that enables users to create custom maps for personal use or sharing. Users can add points, lines, shapes, notes and images on top of Google Maps using a
WYSIWYG In computing, WYSIWYG ( ), an acronym for What You See Is What You Get, is a system in which editing software allows content to be edited in a form that resembles its appearance when printed or displayed as a finished product, such as a printed d ...
editor. An Android app for My Maps, initially released in March 2013 under the name Google Maps Engine Lite, is also available.


Google Local Guides

Google Local Guides is a volunteer program launched by Google Maps to enable its users to contribute to Google Maps. Sometimes it provides them additional perks and benefits for the work. The program is partially a successor to
Google Map Maker Google Map Maker was a map editing service launched by Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational f ...
as features from the former program became integrated into the website and app. The program consists of adding reviews, photos, basic information, videos and correcting information such as .


Timelapse

Earth Timelapse, released in April 2021, is a program in which users can see how the earth has been changed in the last 37 years. They combined the 15 million satellite images (roughly ten quadrillion pixels) to create the 35 global cloud-free Images for this program.


Implementation

As the user drags the map, the grid squares are downloaded from the server and inserted into the page. When a user searches for a business, the results are downloaded in the background for insertion into the side panel and map; the page is not reloaded. A hidden
iframe An HTML element is a type of HTML The HyperText Markup Language, or HTML is the standard markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic) ...

iframe
with form submission is used because it preserves browser history. Like many other Google web applications, Google Maps uses
JavaScript JavaScript (), often abbreviated JS, is a programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/output, output. Programming lang ...

JavaScript
extensively. The site also uses
JSON JSON (JavaScript Object Notation, pronounced ; also ) is an open standard An open standard is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm ...
for data transfer rather than
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable fro ...

XML
, for performance reasons. The version of
Google Street View Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps Google Maps is a web mapping Web most often refers to: * Spider web, a silken structure created by the animal * World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web in ...

Google Street View
for classic Google Maps required
Adobe Flash Adobe Flash is a multimedia software platform A computing platform or digital platform is the environment in which a piece of software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that ...
. In October 2011, Google announced MapsGL, a
WebGL WebGL (Short for Web Graphics Library) is a JavaScript JavaScript (), often abbreviated JS, is a programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that prod ...

WebGL
version of Maps with better renderings and smoother transitions. Indoor maps uses JPG, .PNG, .PDF, .BMP, or .GIF, for
floor plan In architecture File:Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted).jpg, upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gal ...

floor plan
s. Users who are logged into a
Google Account A Google Account is a user account that is required for access, authentication and authorization to certain online Google services. It is also often used as single sign on for third party services. Usage A Google Account is required for Gmail, Go ...
can save locations so that they are overlaid on the map with various colored "pins" whenever they browse the application. These "Saved places" can be organised into user named lists and shared with other users. One default list "Starred places" also automatically creates a record in another Google product, Google Bookmarks.


Map data and imagery

The Google Maps terms and conditions state that usage of material from Google Maps is regulated by Google Terms of Service and some additional restrictions. Google has either purchased local map data from established companies, or has entered into lease agreements to use copyrighted map data. The owner of the copyright is listed at the bottom of zoomed maps. For example, street maps in Japan are leased from
Zenrin is a Japanese map publishing company, publisher. Founded in 1948, the company is known as a maker of residential maps and software used in personal computers and Automotive navigation systems. It is a leading Japanese company in the production of ...
. Street maps in China are leased from
AutoNavi AutoNavi Software Co., Ltd. ()) is a Chinese web mapping, navigation Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another.Bowditch, 2003:799. The fi ...
. Russian street maps are leased from Geocentre Consulting and
Tele Atlas Tele Atlas is a Netherlands-based company founded in 1984 which delivers digital maps and other dynamic content for navigation and location-based services, including personal and Automotive navigation system, in-car navigation systems, and provid ...
. Data for
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
is sourced from the companion project
Google Map Maker Google Map Maker was a map editing service launched by Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational f ...
. Street map overlays, in some areas, may not match up precisely with the corresponding satellite images. The street data may be entirely erroneous, or simply out of date: "The biggest challenge is the currency of data, the authenticity of data," said Google Earth representative Brian McClendon. As a result, in March 2008 Google added a feature to edit the locations of houses and businesses. Restrictions have been placed on Google Maps through the apparent censoring of locations deemed potential security threats. In some cases the area of redaction is for specific buildings, but in other cases, such as Washington, D.C., the restriction is to use outdated imagery.


Google Maps API

Google Maps API, now called Google Maps Platform, hosts about 17 of different APIs, which are themed under the following categories; Maps, Places and Routes. After the success of reverse-engineered mashups such as chicagocrime.org and housingmaps.com, Google launched the Google Maps API in June 2005 to allow developers to integrate Google Maps into their websites. It was a free service that didn't require an API key until June 2018 (changes went into effect on July 16), when it was announced that an API key linked to a Google Cloud account with billing enabled would be required to access the API. The API does not contain ads, but Google states in their terms of use that they reserve the right to display ads in the future. By using the Google Maps
API In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and soft ...
, it is possible to embed Google Maps into an external website, on to which site-specific data can be overlaid. Although initially only a
JavaScript JavaScript (), often abbreviated JS, is a programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/output, output. Programming lang ...

JavaScript
API, the Maps API was expanded to include an API for
Adobe Flash Adobe Flash is a multimedia software platform A computing platform or digital platform is the environment in which a piece of software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that ...
applications (but this has been deprecated), a service for retrieving static map images, and
web service The term Web service (WS) is either: * a service offered by an electronic device to another electronic device, communicating with each other via the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information ...
s for performing
geocoding Address geocoding, or simply geocoding, is the process of taking a text-based description of a location, such as an address or the name of a place, and returning geographic coordinates, frequently latitude/longitude pair, to identify a locati ...
, generating driving directions, and obtaining elevation profiles. Over 1,000,000 web sites use the Google Maps API, making it the most heavily used web application development API. In September 2011, Google announced it would deprecate the Google Maps API for Flash. The Google Maps API is free for commercial use, provided that the site on which it is being used is publicly accessible and does not charge for access, and is not generating more than 25,000 map accesses a day. Sites that do not meet these requirements can purchase the Google Maps API for Business. As of June 21, 2018, Google increased the prices of the Maps API and requires a billing profile.


Google Maps in China

Due to restrictions on geographic data in China, Google Maps must partner with a Chinese digital map provider in order to legally show Chinese map data. Since 2006, this partner has been
AutoNavi AutoNavi Software Co., Ltd. ()) is a Chinese web mapping, navigation Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another.Bowditch, 2003:799. The fi ...
. Within China, the State Council mandates that all maps of China use the GCJ-02 coordinate system, which is offset from the WGS-84 system used in most of the world. google.''cn''/maps (formerly Google Ditu) uses the GCJ-02 system for both its street maps and satellite imagery. google.''com''/maps also uses GCJ-02 data for the street map, but uses WGS-84 coordinates for satellite imagery, causing the so-called China GPS shift problem. Frontier alignments also present some differences between google.''cn''/maps and google.''com''/maps. On the latter, sections of the Chinese border with India and Pakistan are shown with dotted lines, indicating areas or frontiers in dispute. However, google.''cn'' shows the Chinese frontier strictly according to Chinese claims with no dotted lines indicating the border with India and Pakistan. For example, the
South Tibet South Tibet is a literal translation of the Chinese term '' (Zàngnán), which may refer to different geographic areas: * The southern part of Tibet Tibet (; ; ) is a region in East Asia covering much of the Tibetan Plateau spanning about ...
region claimed by China but administered by India as a large part of
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Arunachal Pradesh
is shown inside the Chinese frontier by google.''cn'', with Indian highways ending abruptly at the Chinese claim line. Google.''cn'' also shows Taiwan and the
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South China Sea Islands
as part of China. Google Ditu's street map coverage of Taiwan no longer omits major state organs, such as the Presidential Palace, the five Yuans, and the Supreme Court. Feature-wise, google.''cn''/maps does not feature My Maps. On the other hand, while google.''cn'' displays virtually all text in Chinese, google.''com''/maps displays most text (user-selectable real text as well as those on map) in English. This behavior of displaying English text is not consistent but intermittent – sometimes it is in English, sometimes it is in Chinese. The criteria for choosing which language is displayed are not known publicly.


Discontinued features


Google Latitude

Google Latitude was a feature from Google that lets users share their physical locations with other people. This service was based on Google Maps, specifically on mobile devices. There was an iGoogle widget for desktops and laptops as well. Some concerns were expressed about the privacy issues raised by the use of the service. On August 9, 2013, this service was discontinued, and on March 22, 2017, Google incorporated the features from Latitude into the Google Maps app.


Google Map Maker

In areas where Google Map Maker was available, for example, much of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe as well as the United States and Canada, anyone who logged into their Google account could directly improve the map by fixing incorrect driving directions, adding biking trails, or adding a missing building or road. General map errors in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United States could be reported using the Report a Problem link in Google Maps and would be updated by Google. For areas where Google used
Tele Atlas Tele Atlas is a Netherlands-based company founded in 1984 which delivers digital maps and other dynamic content for navigation and location-based services, including personal and Automotive navigation system, in-car navigation systems, and provid ...
data, map errors could be reported using Tele Atlas map insight. If imagery was missing, outdated, misaligned, or generally incorrect, one could notify Google through their contact request form. In November 2016, Google announced the discontinuation of Google Map Maker as of March 2017.


Mobile app

Google Maps is available as a
mobile app A mobile application, also referred to as a mobile app or simply an app, is a computer program In imperative programming In computer science, imperative programming is a programming paradigm that uses Statement (computer science), statements t ...
for the
Android Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (operating system)#Mascot, Unnamed Androi ...

Android
and
iOS iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPod Touch; the t ...

iOS
mobile operating systems. The Android app was first released in September 2008, though the
GPS The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national ...

GPS
-localization feature had been in testing on cellphones since 2007. Up until
iOS 6 iOS 6 is the iOS version history, sixth major release of the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc, being the successor to iOS 5. It was announced at the company's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Worldwide Developers Confere ...
, the built-in maps application on the
iOS iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPod Touch; the t ...

iOS
operating system was powered by Google Maps. However, with the announcement of iOS 6 in June 2012,
Apple An apple is an edible fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this fie ...
announced that they had created their own
Apple Maps Apple Maps (or simply Maps) is a web mapping service developed by Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multin ...
mapping service, which officially replaced Google Maps when iOS 6 was released on September 19, 2012. However, at launch, Apple Maps received significant criticism from users due to inaccuracies, errors and bugs. One day later, ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

The Guardian
'' reported that Google was preparing its own Google Maps app, which was released on December 12, 2012. Within only two days, the application had been downloaded over ten million times.


Features

The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android have many of the same features, including
turn-by-turn navigation Turn-by-turn Navigation is a feature of some GPS navigation device A satellite navigation device, colloquially called a GPS receiver, or simply a GPS, is a device that is capable of receiving information from GNSS satellites and then to calcul ...
,
street view Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides interactive panoramas from positions along many streets in the world. It was launched in 2007 in several cities in the United States, and has since expa ...

street view
, and public transit information. Turn-by-turn navigation was originally announced by Google as a separate beta testing app exclusive to Android 2.0 devices in October 2009. The original standalone iOS version did not support the
iPad iPad is a line of tablet computer A tablet computer, commonly shortened to tablet, is a mobile device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequenc ...

iPad
, but tablet support was added with version 2.0 in July 2013. An update in June 2012 for Android devices added support for offline access to downloaded maps of certain regions, a feature that was eventually released for iOS devices, and made more robust on Android, in May 2014. At the end of 2015 Google Maps announced its new offline functionality, but with various limitations – downloaded area cannot exceed 120,000 square kilometres and require a considerable amount of storage space. In January 2017, Google added a feature exclusively to Android that will, in some U.S. cities, indicate the level of difficulty in finding available parking spots, and on both Android and iOS, the app can, as of an April 2017 update, remember where users parked. In August 2017, Google Maps for Android was updated with new functionality to actively help the user in finding parking lots and garages close to a destination. In December 2017, Google added a new two-wheeler mode to its Android app, designed for users in India, allowing for more accessibility in traffic conditions. In 2019 the android version introduced the new feature called live view that allows to view directions directly on the road thanks to augmented reality Google Maps won the 2020 Webby Award for Best User Interface in the category Apps, Mobile & Voice. In March 2021, Google added a feature in which users can draw missing roads.


Reception

''
USA Today ''USA Today'' (stylized in all uppercase) is an American daily middle-market newspaper A middle-market newspaper is a newspaper that caters to readers who like entertainment as well as the coverage of important news events. Middle-market sta ...
'' welcomed the application back to iOS, saying: "The reemergence in the middle of the night of a Google Maps app for the iPhone is like the return of an old friend. Only your friend, who'd gone missing for three months, comes back looking better than ever." Jason Parker of ''
CNET ''CNET'' (short for "Computer Network"), stylised C, net, is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos on technology and consumer electronics Consumer electronics or home electronics ...
'', calling it "the king of maps", said, "With its iOS Maps app, Google sets the standard for what mobile navigation should be and more." Bree Fowler of the ''
Associated Press The Associated Press (AP) is an American non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, publ ...

Associated Press
'' compared Google's and Apple's map applications, saying: "The one clear advantage that Apple has is style. Like Apple devices, the maps are clean and clear and have a fun, pretty element to them, especially in 3-D. But when it comes down to depth and information, Google still reigns superior and will no doubt be welcomed back by its fans." ''
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Gizmodo
'' gave it a ranking of 4.5 stars, stating: "Maps Done Right". According to ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'', Google "admits that it's OS app iseven better than Google Maps for Android phones, which has accommodated its evolving feature set mainly by piling on menus". Google Maps' is regarded by some as a threat to users' privacy, with Dylan Tweney of ''
VentureBeat #REDIRECT VentureBeat#REDIRECT VentureBeat VentureBeat, stylized as VB, is an American technology website headquartered in San Francisco, California. It publishes news, analysis, long-form features, interviews, and videos. History The VentureBe ...
'' writing in August 2014 that "Google is probably logging your location, step by step, via Google Maps", and linked users to Google's location history map, which "lets you see the path you've traced for any given day that your smartphone has been running Google Maps". Tweney then provided instructions on how to disable location history. The history tracking was also noticed, and recommended disabled, by editors at ''CNET'' and ''
TechCrunch TechCrunch is an American online newspaper An online newspaper (or electronic news or electronic news publication) is the electronic publishing, online version of a newspaper, either as a stand-alone publication or as the online version of a p ...

TechCrunch
''. Additionally, ''
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'' reported in April 2014 that a "sneaky new privacy change" would have an effect on the majority of iOS users. The privacy change, an update to the
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iOS app that "now supports sign-in across Google iOS apps, including Maps,
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,
YouTube YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform Social media are interactive technologies that allow the Content creation, creation or information sharing, sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, an ...

YouTube
and ", meant that Google would be able to identify users' actions across its different apps. The Android version of the app surpassed 5 billion installations in March 2019.


Go version

Google Maps Go, a version of the app designed for lower-end devices, was released in beta in January 2018. By September 2018, the app had over 10 million installations.


Potential misuse

In 2005 the
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is a statutory body of the Australian government, formed in 1987 to replace the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. Its head office and main facilities are in southern outsk ...
(ANSTO) complained about the potential for terrorists to use the satellite images in planning attacks, with specific reference to the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor; however, the Australian Federal government did not support the organization's concern. At the time of the ANSTO complaint, Google had colored over some areas for security (mostly in the US), such as the rooftop of the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...

White House
and several other
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, US buildings. In October 2010,
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Nicaragua
n military commander
Edén Pastora Edén Atanacio Pastora Gómez (November 15, 1936 or January 22, 1937 – June 16, 2020) was a Nicaraguan politician and guerrilla who ran for president as the candidate of the Alternative for ChangeAlternative for Change ( es, Alternativa por el C ...
stationed Nicaraguan troops on the Isla Calero (in the delta of the San Juan River (Nicaragua), San Juan River), justifying his action on the border delineation given by Google Maps. Google has since updated its data which it found to be incorrect. On January 27, 2014, documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA and the GCHQ intercepted Google Maps queries made on smartphones, and used them to locate the users making these queries. One leaked document, dating to 2008, stated that "[i]t effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system." In February 2020, Simon Weckert used 99 cell phones to fake a Google Maps traffic jam.


See also

* Bhuvan * Comparison of web map services * GeoGuessr * ''Google Maps Road Trip,'' live-streaming documentary * Historypin * Indoor positioning system * MUSCULAR * PlaceSpotting * Wikiloc, a mashup that shows trails and waypoints on Google Maps * Wikimapia, a mashup combining Google Maps and a wiki aimed at "describing the whole planet earth" * WikipediaVision


References


External links

*
Official Google Maps blog

About Google Maps

Google Local Guides

Google Maps Platform
{{Authority control Google Maps, Alphabet Inc. Android (operating system) software BlackBerry software Danish inventions Google services, Maps Google acquisitions, Maps Transport companies established in 2005 Internet properties established in 2005 IOS software, Maps Java platform software Keyhole Markup Language Mobile route-planning software Pocket PC software Route planning software Symbian software Web Map Services Web mapping Windows Mobile Standard software