There’s more than meets the eye to the Google Maps update in Europe, French Google-centric blog Zorgloob has discovered. And Google Earth has benefited as well.
What they’ve found is that the back end for Google Maps and Earth is ready for prime time in Europe. As of the past weekend, for example, you can get directions between cities in most European countries, complete with trajectory. Some cities, like Brussels and Paris, already let you ask for directions to landmarks. The maps layer with roads isn’t activated yet in Maps, but the directions given name all the roads, and the Satellite layer works fine as a proxy.
Even better, the little “&output=kml” hack blogged yesterday works wonderfully for getting the same trajectory into Google Earth (Brussels to Paris in Google Earth, for example). You can also do these queries directly in Google Earth and get the same result. Of course, Google Earth already has the road layer that Zorgloob now expects Google Maps to get within days.