How Google's directional products have evolved

The history and current state of Google's Maps and Places products were recently discussed by Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Geo, at the recent WHERE Conference in San Francisco, ZDNet explains.

McClendon pointed out that in 2006, Google's Earth product covered 37 percent of the global population - by 2012 that number increased to 75 percent.

What's more, in 2008 Google Maps provided driving directions within 22 countries, spanning 13 million miles of road. Those figures have grown to 187 countries, covering 26 million miles.

Beside aerial satellite images, Google Earth has also expanded to integrate other sources, like historical photos. It's updated every two weeks with new images.

Google's Street View feature has increased from five cities in 2007 to 3,000 cities in 35 countries, with "millions" of miles of published images. Working with the Google Art Project, Street View now offers interior shots of businesses and museums - 385 of which were recently updated with better quality photos, the news source notes in a separate article.

McClendon also stated that he expects 3D maps to be the future of digital and online mapping services, coming to fruition in as soon as five years.