Until recently, the Google Earth dataset was the base dataset, and every update would be followed a few weeks later by the Google Maps version, as the maps version of the imagery is just a series of snapshots of the base imagery at different resolutions, one for each zoom level.
Not so any more. As of today, zoomed out Maps imagery enjoys the sheen of consistent post-processing. In places like the UK and Germany, where everything is in high resolution anyway, this is a welcome improvement. Quite possibly, the change was precipitated by the oohs and ahs that greeted Microsoft Live Local’s last UK dataset upgrade.
Some commenters make a good point, however. in areas where high-resolution imagery is not omnipresent, the color-shifted strips provided tell-tale signs of interesting high-resolution imagery to explore. Google Earth still has this advantage. To me, the colored strips in the Australian Outback are a feature, not a bug — an undocumented nudge towards the good stuff in Google Earth.
Also today in Maps: Double click to zoom for everyone, and continuous zoom for Windows users. In sum, all three improvements constitute a successful catch-up maneuver by Google, feature-wise, vis-à-vis Live Local. Meanwhile, Google Maps and Earth still far, far outshine the competition when it comes to content, and in this game, content very much is king. (I’m still in awe of the breadth of the last Google Earth dataset update from over a month ago.) (Via Zorgloob)