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Google Maps now depicts the Earth as a globe

Google launched a new replacement to Google Maps. Now when you open Google Maps on your desktop computer and zoom all the way out, the world now appears as a 3D globe rather than the usual flat two-dimensional map. It is a change that allows the map to more accurately display the earth. You can manipulate the globe as you’d expect – you can spin it, zoom in, and zoom back out. A cool update isn’t it?

The search company highlighted the change on its Google Maps Twitter feed. Company tweeted –

“With 3D Globe Mode on Google Maps desktop, Greenland’s projection is no longer the size of Africa.”

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Globe mode works on desktop only, though all major browsers are supported such as Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Up till now, Google Maps used Mercator projection, which projects the planet onto a flat surface. Whereas this model makes it simple to print onto maps and has largely become standardized, it presents a distorted image of the Earth. Objects around the equator are to scale relative to one another, while objects closer to the poles appear larger than they really are. Take an example of Greenland and Africa. On a Mercator map, Greenland appears larger than Africa. In reality, Africa is 14 times larger.

In 2009, one of the Google employees explained that the company used a Mercator map. Because it helped preserve angles of roads:

“The primary launch of Maps really didn’t use Mercator, and streets in excessive latitude locations like Stockholm didn’t meet at proper angles on the map the way they do in reality.”

The change is the current in a sequence from the firm. In June, Google redesigned its Explore section to make it easier to find restaurants, and an update earlier this week added one’s battery life status to location sharing.   

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