Google Maps is a web mapping service application and technology provided by Google, that powers many map-based services, including the Google Maps website, Google Ride Finder, Google Transit, and maps embedded on third-party websites via the Google Maps API. It offers street maps and a route planner for traveling by foot, car, bike (beta), or with public transportation. It also includes a locator for urban businesses in numerous countries around the world. Google Maps satellite images are not updated in real time, however, Google adds data to their Primary Database on a regular basis and most of the images are no more than 3 years old.
Google Maps uses a close variant of the Mercator projection, so it cannot accurately show areas around the poles. A related product is Google Earth, a stand-alone program which offers more globe-viewing features, including showing polar areas.
Google Maps for mobile is the world’s most popular app for smartphones, with over 54% of global smartphone owners using it at least once during the month of August 2013.
In honor of the 36th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, Google took public domain imagery of the Moon, integrated it into the Google Maps interface, and created a tool called Google Moon.By default this tool, with a reduced set of features, also displays the points of landing of all Apollo spacecraft to land on the Moon. It also included an easter egg, displaying a Swiss cheese design at the highest zoom level, which Google has since removed. A recent collaborative project between NASA Ames Research Center and Google is integrating and improving the data that is used for Google Moon. This is the Planetary Content Project. Google Moon was linked from a special commemorative version of the Google logo displayed at the top of the main Google search page for July 20, 2005 (UTC).
Google Mars provides a visible imagery view, like Google Moon, as well as infrared imagery and shaded relief (elevation) of the planet Mars. Users can toggle between the elevation, visible, and infrared data, in the same manner as switching between map, satellite, and hybrid modes of Google Maps. In collaboration with NASA scientists at the Mars Space Flight Facility located at Arizona State University, Google has provided the public with data collected from two NASA Mars missions, Mars Global Surveyor and 2001 Mars Odyssey.
Now, with Google Earth 5 it is possible to access new improved Google Mars data at a much higher resolution, as well as being able to view the terrain in 3D, and viewing panoramas from various Mars landers in a similar way to Google Street View.