Google Updates Street View

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Google Maps' Street View underwent some small but interesting changes just in time for your Thanksgiving commute.

When you log onto Google Maps, the first thing you'll notice is that the navigational tools look similar to those of Google Earth. Added to the tools in the top left-hand corner is the Pegman, the mascot of Google Street View.

Drag the Pegman to your desired location to launch Street View. Streets that have been mapped with Street View will glow with a blue outline, and a small picture icon sprouts from the Pegman's head, previewing the scene below.

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When the Pegman lands, the screen opens into a wider, higher resolution image of your surroundings. A rotating compass replaces the old four-way directional pad for easier spinning. You can now also launch Street View by zooming into a location as far as it can go, or double-clicking on the Pegman.

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Street View is now shown as a split screen, with the bottom half devoted to the original Google Map. The bottom half can be reduced and enlarged by clicking the icon in the upper left-hand corner; it allows you to shrink the Map to a small box in the corner. This makes it easier to maintain perspective as you're navigating the photographed streets.

Oddly, the updated Street View apparently does not work with Google's own Chrome browser, but I gave it a spin on both Firefox and Safari and encountered no problems.

This update should make your Thanksgiving travels using Street View more streamlined. Now if only you could change your destination...

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