Zipline through the Amazon Forest with Street View

Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 11:00 PM

Home to millions of plant, animal and insect species, the Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Undiscovered species thrive in the canopies of the primary forests, atop trees that have stood for centuries. Starting today, with the help of our partners at the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), you can begin to unlock some of the wonders of the forest, by traveling from the upper canopy to the forest floor with Google Maps’ first zipline Street View collection.

High up in the canopy, you can see thick moss on the trunks, miles of hanging vine, and some of the many plants and insects that call this place home.

Now zip back down to the forest floor, and wind through a maze of towering old-growth trees. Looking up, the canopies are so thick, the sun barely peeks through.

You can also come out from the shade and take a virtual float down the dreamy waters of the Rio Aripuan√£ or the Rio Mariepau√° and come out to the Rio Madeira, one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon.

And don’t forget to stop by one of the 17 communities of local people who live along the river and in the forest. These people are the devoted stewards of the river and forests, and protect it by living with it, preventing the destruction of the trees and the life that depends on them.

This project is the next step in our partnership with FAS, who first invited us to Rio Negro Sustainable Development Reserve just three years ago. Their hope is that sharing the imagery of their local communities, rain forests and rivers with the world will raise awareness and support for their efforts to conserve these areas. Collected through the Trekker Loan Program, this new imagery is the result of boating down 500 km of rivers, walking 20 km of forest trails and ziplining through forest canopies. We hope it inspires you to embark on your own virtual expedition of the Amazon (you can leave the bug repellent at home!).

Greenlandic fjords and viking ruins await your discovery in Google Maps

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 12:01 AM

Your virtual viking ship is here to take you on a journey through Greenland with Street View in Google Maps. Thanks to our partners Visit Greenland and Asiaq, you can now explore immersive 360-degree imagery of the world’s largest island, which is sparsely populated yet chock full of glorious natural wonders and historical sites. Let us take you on a tour of fjords, waterfront vistas, Norse ruins and more.

Floating by Ilulissat, you can see why the breathtaking Ilulissat icefjord is the country’s most popular tourist destination. Also an UNESCO World Heritage site, the stunning ice wall seems to defy gravity as it reaches up into the clear, blue sky.

Greenland’s wonders don’t end with ice. In Brattahlid, where Erik the Red established the first viking colony in the year 982, you can come face to face with history as you look at the reconstruction of the New World’s first church.

At the abandoned settlement Hvalsey, you can visit Hvalsey Church, the best preserved Norse ruins in Greenland. The Church was also the location of the last written record of the Greenlandic Norse in 1408.

Nuutoqaq, the colonial harbor, is full of gorgeous vistas, fjords and monuments to local heroes. The statue of Hans Egede, the Danish-Norwegian explorer who founded the nearby town of Nuuk, is hard to miss (not that you’d want to!).

To see more of Greenland’s world-renowned icebergs and cultural gems, start your virtual exploration now. Like the Vikings before you, a new frontier awaits.

Goin’ to the chapel this Valentine’s weekend

Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 11:15 AM

Thanks to the ease and low cost of acquiring a marriage license, Las Vegas is considered the Marriage Capital of the World. For many, Vegas weddings are a chance to be spontaneous and embrace the unexpected. This Valentine’s Day, we hope you’ll say yes… and visit the chapels that make Las Vegas famous with Street View in Google Maps.

From the regal Classico Chapel in Caesars Palace to the more simple Las Vegas Love Chapel, there’s a variety of places to say “I do.” You can take a seat at the locations of some of the world’s most remembered (for better or for worse) Vegas weddings. Want to know why Jon Bon Jovi and Jay Leno picked Graceland Wedding Chapel for one of the biggest days in their lives? Take a look:

If your dream wedding involves walking down the aisle in a silk tuxedo to the tune of “Burning Love,” stop by Planet Hollywood (formerly the Aladdin) and relive the eight minutes it took for Elvis Presley and Priscilla to get married there. The original hotel is gone, but you can say your virtual vows at Planet Hollywood’s chapel. (And let’s not forget that in Vegas, Elvis can marry you—to your loved one, of course.)

Whether you're ready to take the marital plunge, walk down memory aisle, or just pique your curiosity, this collection is a fun celebration of romance—Vegas style.

Posted by Deanna Yick, Street View Program Manager

Today we turn 10!

Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 9:00 AM

For 10 years Google Maps has made it easier to navigate and explore your world. If you hopped in your DeLorean for a trip back to before 2005, you’d remember the days when we were all dependent on paper maps, print-outs, post-its and sometimes even a compass for directions! Getting from point A to B is something we do all day, every day—from finding the fastest way to get to work, to dropping the kids off on a carpool route, to meeting friends for drinks at a new spot—so it should be as easy as possible. That’s why we created Google Maps and why we’ve spent the last 10 years figuring out better ways for you to get around.

Through projects like Ground Truth and passionate communities like Map Maker, we strive to provide you with the most comprehensive, accurate and useful maps. And with Google Maps for mobile, you no longer have to worry about getting lost or deciding where to go next when you’re on the move.

As we look ahead to the next 10 years, we hope you're as excited as we are to navigate uncharted territory in pursuit of the perfect map—together. A planet-size thank you to everyone who has navigated, explored and contributed to the map with us over the past decade.

Time for cake!
The Google Maps Team

Google Earth Pro is now free

Friday, January 30, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Over the last 10 years, businesses, scientists and hobbyists from all over the world have been using Google Earth Pro for everything from planning hikes to placing solar panels on rooftops. Google Earth Pro has all the easy-to-use features and detailed imagery of Google Earth, along with advanced tools that help you measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of your virtual flights around the world.

Starting today, even more people will be able to access Google Earth Pro: we're making it available for free. To see what Earth Pro can do for you—or to just have fun flying around the world—grab a free key and download Earth Pro today. If you're an existing user, your key will continue to work with no changes required.

Plan in 3D using Google Earth Pro

Whether you're planning a new office building or a trip to the mountains, check out Google Earth Pro and see how easy it is to visualize your world.

Posted by Stafford Marquardt, Product Manager, Google Earth Pro