Google Street View Gets Smarter Navigation, 3D Effects

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Street View has given us a near-endless supply of shenanigans, but it's always been awkward to actually use. Now, Google has implemented semi-3D "Smart Navigation," which makes your virtual walking and/or stalking a lot easier, and way, way cooler.

Google has overhauled the navigation system entirely, so that you don't have to use the slow, unintuitive arrows to make your way down the street. Instead, your cursor is mapped on a rough 3D model of the scene, with a convincing sense of depth. Just click where you want to go, and Street View takes you there, making the transition with an unexpectedly convincing pseudo-3D effect

It also works for off-road sights, like storefronts or distant scenery. These items are mapped as well, so if you lead your cursor to, say, the front door of your house, Street View will automatically take you to the best possible viewpoint. The above video explains it all pretty well, but the upgrades are live, so you may as well just try it out. [Google via PC World]