Street View Expands in Europe; Public Alerts Now in Japan; Street View of Seven Summits

Public Alerts expands to Japan--now available on Google Now, Search and Maps. Street View expands in Europe. Indoor Google Maps on Android arrives in Australia. Street View imagery of highest mountain on each of the seven continents.

Google Maps Street View expands its coverage in Europe, bringing to the world Street View imagery of Bulgaria as well as access to panoramas of almost 200 new towns and cities in Russia, along with thousands of miles of refreshed imagery of the UK.

In the UK, Google says it has refresh imagery in major cities like London, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff, "as well as filling in some of the gaps where Street View coverage was not available previously."

For example, we've added brand new images to parts of the Scottish coastline, in pockets of East Anglia and parts of South Wales.

In addition, with nearly 5,000 earthquakes a year in Japan, Google today launched Public Alerts in Japan.

"With alerts relevant earthquake and tsunami warnings for Japan will now appear on Google Search, Google Maps and Google Now when you search online during a time of crisis," informs Google.

""Google Public Alerts" is a platform designed to provide accurate and relevant emergency alerts when and where you're searching for them online. The Public alerts service was debuted last year on June 26 in the United States."

"Clicking for example "詳細"(More info) right under the alert, you'll see more details about the announcement, including the full description from the Japan Meteorological Agency, a link to their site, and other useful information like observed arrival times and wave heights for tsunamis," Google adds.

And when you open Google Now on your Android device, recommended actions and information will be tailored to where you are.

Google Public Alerts in Japan available on Google Search, Google Now and Google Maps.

Update 03/09: Google Maps might banned in Germany as Judge Matthias Zigann told Google that the company is liable for infringing a Microsoft patent that describes a "computer system for identifying local resources and method therefor."

"Microsoft is seeking, and now very likely to obtain, a German patent injunction against the Google Maps service, the Google Maps Android client app, and web browsers providing access to Google Maps. In order to comply with the injunction that looms large, Google would have to disable access to Google Maps from computers using a German IP address, discontinue shipping the Google Maps Android app in the German market, and distribute web browsers in Germany only if they block access to Google Maps in a way comparable to Internet filters used for the purpose of parental controls," Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents explains as the possible ramifications if the judge sides with Microsoft.

In another Maps related news, according to a AllThingsD report, Google is about to reach a settlement in the "WiSpy" investigation with the 30+ U.S. state Attorneys Generals as early as next week.

Google is facing investigations over its Street View cars collecting data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks, since 2010.

In its declaration, Google "will admit no wrongdoing and pay $7 million," said the sources.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen's spokesperson said via email that, "Our only comment about Google Street View is the investigation is active and ongoing."

A Google spokesperson said, "We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn--t, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue."

Update 03/12: A new reference to Google Now support for Windows and Chrome OS in the latest Chromium backend specifically allows a user to enable or disable Google Now notification support, which follows earlier indications Google might bring the feature to its desktop Chrome offerings.

"Google Now is behind an eponymous flag in chrome://flags in the last Chromium build. Sadly, we still can't play with it yet because the Google Now server URL still remains secret. If you know it though, all you have to do is set localStorage['server_url'] = ''; in the background page," (via).

Update 03/13: Google Now may soon be heading over to iOS in the very near future--as a promotional video posted on YouTube "pulled minutes later" showed Google Now on the iPhone and iPad.

Below is a recording of the video (via Engadget):

Google Maps Indoor on Android is heads in Australia, to make finding your way inside buildings much easier.

"With indoor Google Maps, shopping centres, train stations, airports and many other places across Australia will be much easier to navigate. The maps automatically appear when you zoom in on a location, and then fade away when the map is zoomed out.

In some locations, you'll even be able to use the familiar "blue dot" icon that indicates your approximate location - even when you're inside. This means that when you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the map will automatically update to display which floor you're on."

Indoor Maps on Google Maps Android arrives in Australia

Update 03/19: Google Maps now letting explore some of the most famous mountains on Earth that belong to the group of peaks known as the Seven Summits--"the highest mountain on each of the seven continents", including Aconcagua (South America), Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Elbrus (Europe) and Everest Base Camp (Asia).

"This imagery was collected with a simple lightweight tripod and digital camera with a fisheye lens--equipment typically used for our Business Photos program," Google writes.

Google Maps Tenzing-Hillary Lukla Airport

Google Maps Fisheye view of Namche Bazaar at Mount Everest

To see more of this collection, visit the Street View Gallery.

Behind-the-scenes shots of the expedition team: