Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) exhibited some one-upmanship opposite Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), its nascent rival in mapping services, by announcing the availability of three-dimensional mapping for complete metropolitan areas instead of just some buildings in Google Earth.
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Google’s move into 3-D imagery, obviously meant to steal the thunder from Apple’s imminent new mapping service, expected to launch at the Worldwide Developers Conference next week, is a significant expansion of its Google Earth and Maps services, and one that would soon be made available on Google Maps, to developers, and on Android devices that may even be offline, according to the company.
Though Google Maps is currently preloaded by Apple onto its iPhones and iPads, Apple has made no secret of its intention to launch its own mapping service to replace Google Maps.
However, Google’s comprehensive mapping service would still be available to Apple users, according to its vice president of engineering Brian McClendon.
Google plans to cover areas having a population of 300 million people with 3-D imagery using airborne cameras on its own fleet of planes. This project could be complete by the end of the year, though the names of the cities were not revealed. More important, this facility would be accessible by both Apple and Android users.