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Google on Monday incorporated Google Earth into Google Maps, bringing a 3D perspective to a map when used with a supported browser.
"Earth view offers a true three-dimensional perspective, which lets you experience mountains in full detail, 3D buildings and first-person dives beneath the ocean. The motion is fluid, and you can see the world from any viewpoint," wrote Google product manager Peter Birch on Google's Lat Long blog.
The move comes five years after the launch of Google Earth as a stand-alone application, and two years after the Google Earth browser plug-in was released.
To see Earth view in Google Maps, users must have the Google Earth browser plug-in installed on their desktops, the company said in a blog post.
An 'Earth' button is shown in Google Maps after the Google Earth plug-in is downloaded to the desktop. The plug-in supports the Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Flock and Safari web browsers.
The plug-in allows people to look at buildings in the round, to get angled views of the terrain, and to pan and zoom into the 3D view.
Google Earth is effective for showing contoured landscapes, such as mountain ranges like the Lake District (pictured). The company has provided 36 places such as the Taj Mahal and Table Mountain for people to explore.
In certain urban areas with plenty of tall buildings, such as New York (pictured), the 3D view can be seen from a low level.
The images can be navigated by using the on-screen menu, or with a mouse and keyboard shortcuts.