Google Maps gets 3D on the web with WebGL

Have you see the view of Google Maps with the buildings that pop out at your face as you're driving through the city with your mouse clicker? It's time to take a look. Google this week has enabled MapsGL, an option that will allow you to see 3D buildings rendered to replicate the buildings that are actually standing on site throughout their massive mapping of the earth. Through the power of WebGL, those of you using Firefox beta, Chrome, Safari (if you enable it), and starting today Opera 12 Alpha, can all see the buildings, the lovely, lovely buildings.

You may recognize these buildings if you're an Android user, as they've been active for more than a few weeks now – in fact, I remember seeing them all the way back at Mobile World Congress 2011 in the Google pod, now that I think of it. Now we've got it everywhere!

Other features relatively new to the web-based version of Google Maps are the swoop transition between Street View and birds-eye view, and the ability to rotate the map so that North isn't the only direction that can be facing up. By god, what kind of world do we live in where North isn't up!? The greatest place you can use such an ability at this very moment is at the Piazze del Collosseo, Roma, Italia. For those of you unawares, that's the colluseum you see in the movie Gladiator, the one with the lions and whatnot. This location was chosen by Google to demonstrate the awesome power of a 360 degree view at 45 degrees – and oh my goodness is it awesome.

Go now, instantly, to Google Maps with your Chrome browser and start the tour by hitting the button in the lower left-hand corner, then come back and tell us how it went. Google Maps! What will you attain and display next?!

Bonus! Watch out for the paper trains. They still exist! This one found in Minneapolis, Minnesota.