The Washington Post

Google takes maps competition underwater (video)

Call it salt in the wound, or just more pretty pictures, but Google has announced two new additions to their Maps feature as Apple continues to field criticism for its Apple Maps app.

Google unveiled the new underwater “Sea View” experiences in select locations. The company partnered with the Catlin Seaview Survey, which is sponsored by the international specialty insurance company Catlin Group Limited. The imagery was taken using the Seaview SVII camera — a tablet-operated underwater camera — one of only two in the world — capable of taking high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic photographs. The photographs are taken every three seconds with the photographer moving through the water at roughly two miles per hour, reports PC Magazine’s Adario Strange.

Both Google and the Catlin Seaview Survey offer a list of locations where users can find the new underwater views: Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef; Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef, Wilson Island, Great Barrier Reef; Apo Island, Philippines; Oahu, Hawaii: Hanauma Bay; Maui, Hawaii, Molokini Crater.

Google and Catlin will team up for a 1:30 p.m. Eastern time live dive via Google’s Hangouts feature.

The search giant’s maps received Street view additions, with users now able to tour cities in Chile and Croatia.

Our own Dominic Basulto has an analysis on the significance of the maps competition (most notably between Apple and Google), making the comparison between the significance of algorithms to search to that of maps to mobile.

Disclosure: The author’s brother works for Google, but not on the Maps project.

Read more news and ideas on Innovations:

IDEO’s Tim Brown: Where designers go wrong

A win for the Google car

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