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Google Maps is a web mapping service developed by Google. It offers satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, 360° interactive panoramic views of streets (Street View), real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for traveling by foot, car, bicycle, air (in beta) and public transportation. In 2020, Google Maps was used by over 1 billion people every month.[1]

Google Maps began as a C++ desktop program 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 realtime traffic analyzer, Google Maps was launched in February 2005.[2] The service's front end utilizes JavaScript, XML, and Ajax. Google Maps offers an API that allows maps to be embedded on third-party websites,[3] and offers a locator for businesses and other organizations in numerous countries around the world. Google Map Maker 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.[4]

Google Maps' satellite view is a "top-down" or bird's-eye view; most of the high-resolution imagery of cities is aerial photography taken from aircraft flying at 800 to 1,500 feet (240 to 460 m), while most other imagery is from satellites.[5] Much of the available satellite imagery is no more than three years old and is updated on a regular basis.[6] Google Maps previously used a variant of the Mercator projection, and therefore could not accurately show areas around the poles.[7] 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 and iOS devices was released in September 2008 and features GPS turn-by-turn navigation along with dedicated parking assistance f

Google Maps is a web mapping service developed by Google. It offers satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, 360° interactive panoramic views of streets (Street View), real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for traveling by foot, car, bicycle, air (in beta) and public transportation. In 2020, Google Maps was used by over 1 billion people every month.[1]

Google Maps began as a C++ desktop program 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 realtime traffic analyzer, Google Maps was launched in February 2005.[2] The service's front end utilizes JavaScript, XML, and Ajax. Google Maps offers an API that allows maps to be embedded on third-party websites,[3] and offers a locator for businesses and other organizations in numerous countries around the world. Google Map Maker 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.[4]

Google Maps' satellite view is a "top-down" or bird's-eye view; most of the high-resolution imagery of cities is aerial photography taken from aircraft flying at 800 to 1,500 feet (240 to 460 m), while most other imagery is from satellites.[5] Much of the available satellite imagery is no more than three years old and is updated on a regular basis.[6] Google Maps previously used a variant of the Mercator projection, and therefore could not accurately show areas around the poles.[7] 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 and iOS devices was rel

Google Maps began as a C++ desktop program 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 realtime traffic analyzer, Google Maps was launched in February 2005.[2] The service's front end utilizes JavaScript, XML, and Ajax. Google Maps offers an API that allows maps to be embedded on third-party websites,[3] and offers a locator for businesses and other organizations in numerous countries around the world. Google Map Maker 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.[4]

Google Maps' satellite view is a "top-down" or bird's-eye view; most of the high-resolution imagery of cities is aerial photography taken from aircraft flying at 800 to 1,500 feet (240 to 460 m), while most other imagery is from satellites.[5] Much of the available satellite imagery is no more than three years old and is updated on a regular basis.[6] Google Maps previously used a variant of the Mercator projection, and therefore could not accurately show areas around the poles.[7] 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 and iOS devices was released in September 2008 and features GPS turn-by-turn navigation along with dedicated parking assistance features. In August 2013, it was determined to be the world's most popular app for smartphones, with over 54% of global smartphone owners using it at least once.[8]

In 2012, Google reported having over 7,100 employees and contractors directly working in mapping.[9]

In May 2017, the app has reported to have 2 billion users on Android, along with several other Google services including YouTube, Chrome, Gmail, Search, and Google Play, Google Maps reached over 1 billion monthly users.[10]

Google Maps first started as a C++ program designed by two Danish brothers, Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen, at the 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.[11] In October 2004, the company was acquired by Google Inc.[12] where it transformed into the web application Google Maps. In the same month, Google acquired Keyhole, a geospatial data visualization company (with investment from the CIA), whose marquee application suite, Earth Viewer, emerged as the highly successful Google Earth application in 2005 while other aspects of its core technology were integrated into Google Maps.[13] In September 2004, Google acquired ZipDash, a company that provided realtime traffic analysis.[14]

2005–2010

Features

The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android have many of the same features, including turn-by-turn navigation, street view, and public transit information.[140][141] Turn-by-turn navigation was originally announced by Google as a separate beta testing app exclusive to Android 2.0 devices in October 2009.[142][143] The original standalone iOS version did not support the iPad,[141] but tablet support was added with version 2.0 in July 2013.[144] An update in June 2012 for Android devices added support for offline access to downloaded maps of certain regions,[145][146] a feature that was eventually released for iOS devices, and made more robust on Android, in May 2014.[147][148]

At the end of 2015 Google Maps announced its new offline functionality,[149] but with various limitations – downloaded area cannot exceed 120,000 square kilometres[150][151] and require a considerable amount of storage space.[152] 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,[153] and on both Android and iOS, the app can, as of an April 2017 update, remember where users parked.[154][155] 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.[156] 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.[157][158] 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 [159] Google Maps won the 2020 Webby Award for Best User Interface in the category Apps, Mobile & Voice.[160]

Reception

USA Today welcome

The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android have many of the same features, including turn-by-turn navigation, street view, and public transit information.[140][141] Turn-by-turn navigation was originally announced by Google as a separate beta testing app exclusive to Android 2.0 devices in October 2009.[142][143] The original standalone iOS version did not support the iPad,[141] but tablet support was added with version 2.0 in July 2013.[144] An update in June 2012 for Android devices added support for offline access to downloaded maps of certain regions,[145][146] a feature that was eventually released for iOS devices, and made more robust on Android, in May 2014.[147][148]

At the end of 2015 Google Maps announced its new offline functionality,[149] but with various limitations – downloaded area cannot exceed 120,000 square kilometres[150][151] and require a considerable amount of storage space.[152] 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,At the end of 2015 Google Maps announced its new offline functionality,[149] but with various limitations – downloaded area cannot exceed 120,000 square kilometres[150][151] and require a considerable amount of storage space.[152] 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,[153] and on both Android and iOS, the app can, as of an April 2017 update, remember where users parked.[154][155] 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.[156] 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.[157][158] 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 [159] Google Maps won the 2020 Webby Award for Best User Interface in the category Apps, Mobile & Voice.[160]

USA Today 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."[161] Jason Parker of CNET, calling it "the king of maps", said, "With its iOS Maps app, Google sets the standard for what mobile navigation should be and more."[162] Bree Fowler of the 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."[163] Gizmodo gave it a ranking of 4.5 stars, stating: "Maps Done Right".[164] According to The New York Times, Google "admits that it's [iOS app is] even better than Google Maps for Android phones, which has accommodated its evolving feature set mainly by piling on menus".[165]

However, Google Maps' location tracking is widely regarded as a threat to users' privacy, with Dylan Tweney of VentureBeat writing in August 2014 that "Google is probably l

However, Google Maps' location tracking is widely regarded as a threat to users' privacy, with Dylan Tweney of VentureBeat 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.[166] The history tracking was also noticed, and recommended disabled, by editors at CNET[167] and TechCrunch.[168] Additionally, Quartz 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 Gmail iOS app that "now supports sign-in across Google iOS apps, including Maps, Drive, YouTube and Chrome", meant that Google would be able to identify users' actions across its different apps.[169]

The Android version of the app surpassed 5 billion installations in March 2019.[170]

Google Maps Go, a version of the app designed for lower-end devices, was released in beta in January 2018.[171] By September 2018, the app had over 10 million installations.[172]

Potential misuse