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June 4, 2009

Enhanced Zooming in Google Street View

Google Maps added a new way to zoom in the street view imagery: by double-clicking on the object you want to see clearer.

"We have been able to accomplish this by making a compact representation of the building facade and road geometry for all the Street View panoramas using laser point clouds and differences between consecutive pictures. As you move your mouse within Street View, you'll notice that the cursor now has lightly-shaded geometry attached to it - it will show an oval when your mouse is following a road and a rectangle when moving across the facades of buildings," explains Google. The cursor geometry is called "pancake" and it's a shortcut for the best image that shows the object you've selected.

While the new feature is moderately useful, it's very annoying when panning the image. You're almost afraid to click on the image because the zooming icon suggests that you are about to zoom in. I'll use the keyboard shortcuts to navigate through Street View from now on: up/down/left/right arrows, Page Up, Page Down, +/- for zooming.


  1. I like the features and definitely the way they are used. I understand the zooming icon is a little weird but once you know it only zooms when you double click you can have some fun for some time ^^

    Keep creating nice stuff google, doing great!

  2. Very nice occasionally :-) although it gets confused sometimes (& seems to spin to facing the wrong way) - Not so good on windy twisty streets but great in more regimented areas
    I like it but it's good that previous navigation is still there (it all seems to be so far)

    Oh, and maps is working on my (dev channel) chrome again :-) would like to be able to report fixed website as well as broken ones, although i guess they already know #happy

  3. I like the new feature. I wonder how hard it would be to implement a Back button inside of Street View...

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  5. Oh wow, this is fantastic.
    I was always wondering if they would ever do this since they had loads of frames of the streets they scan.

  6. awesome... keep up this groundbreaking work...

  7. It's a great new makes navigating street view so much faster.

  8. Wow..This is really awesome ...Enhanced zooming in google street view is really amazing..would help navigating in a better way..

  9. I still find it a bit confusing with these rectangles and circles for zooming feature. Do they really mean anything? From what I can see the displayed shape does not really show the area that will be enlarged. So why are they?