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Google Maps offers experimental tools

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in Office Technology

Frequent mappers may appreciate knowing that Google Maps has a set of experimental features that you won’t see unless you know where to look.

Go to and look on the right side of the page for “Google Maps Labs.” Once you click, you’ll see a set of new features pop up, which you can “Enable” individually.

Since the features “aren’t quite ready for primetime,” according to Google, some may be added, changed or deleted over time. In the short term, though, some of these neat tricks can make mapping more efficient.

Distance Measurement Tool: Measure the distance of a path on the Earth.

Short URL: Shorten the Maps “link” to a more compact URL for sharing with others.

Show Me Here! Point your cursor to a point, then zoom directly to the maximum zoom level.

Drag ‘n’ Zoom: Draw a box on the map and—zoom!—you’re there.

Aerial Imagery: Get rotatable, high-resolution overhead imagery for certain geographic areas.

What’s Around Here? Get a display of the most popular places in the current map view.

Smart Zoom: Avoid the “We don’t have imagery at this zoom level” message. Smart Zoom checks in advance whether imagery exists, saving you time.

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