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October 13, 2011

Google Maps in WebGL

If you like the Google Maps app for Android and you wonder why it looks better than the desktop Google Maps, there's a new experimental interface that uses WebGL and it's available in Chrome 14+ and Firefox 8+. If you click "Want to try something new?" in the Google Maps sidebar and enable MapGL, you'll see a completely new Google Maps interface that shows 3D buildings and no longer uses Flash for Street View.


"We've rebuilt Google Maps from the ground up. Our enhanced Maps provide improved performance, richer 3D graphics, smoother transitions between imagery, 45° view rotation, easier access to Street View and more," explains Google.




Google says that the new interface requires Chrome 14 or Firefox 8 (beta), Windows Vista/7 or Mac OS 10.6+ or Linux and a graphics card that supports WebGL. I've tested in Chrome 14 and it works well: the animations are smooth and Google Maps looks more like a native app.

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