I can't...or perhaps rather not...remember a time before Google Maps and Google Earth (previously, every Angeleno kept a Thomas Guide in their car). Perhaps more than any mobile technology, Google Maps made navigating a new city or even foreign country that less worrisome, while Google Earth made virtual globetrotting a fun bedtime hobby. Google just released an early glimpse of the upcoming 3D update to one of my favorite modern resources/conveniences...
Since 2006, we've had textured 3D buildings in Google Earth, and we're excited to announce that we'll begin adding 3D models to entire metropolitan areas to Google Earth on mobile devices in the near future.
Thanks to new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision, we're able to create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery.
By the end of the year, we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.