With Native App Kicked Out, Google Maps Beefs Up Mobile Site, Adds Street View

Google uses plain HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create the 360 degree panoramic images

As expected, Google has now enabled Street View for Google Maps on the mobile version of the site. It may not seem like much, but it's quite an achievement, Street View on the desktop uses Flash, but that obviously wasn't an option on mobile devices.

Instead, Google relied on good old trusty HTML, CSS and a good helping of JavaScript. That is to say, the new mobile Street View should work on any relatively modern mobile browser.

In practice, Street View works well even on older Android devices, so it should have no problem on high-end Androids or, obviously, the iPhone or iPad.

The feature is universal, i.e. it works on all platforms, and this is the beauty of building on the web, but everyone knows why Google rolled it out now, it's because the native Google Maps app, Street View and all, was kicked out of iOS 6.

If that hadn't happened, Google had no incentive to build Street View into the mobile site, those who wanted it could simply install the app for their Android or iOS device.

But, while Google works on its own native app for iOS, it needed to beef up the mobile version of Google Maps. Given that there's a chance Google Maps won't even be allowed in the App Store, the site could be crucial for Google on iOS devices.

Using Street View on a mobile device is simple enough, just search for a location and then click on the Pegman icon. There's no way of enabling the feature without searching for a location first. You'll be taken to a new tab, separate from the Maps one you were already using.

If you're unfortunate enough to be stuck with iOS 6, you can at least create a shortcut to the Google Maps site on your home screen.

Hot right now  ·  Latest news