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Google updates Street View with 250,000 miles of footage

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Google has released its biggest-ever update to Street View, adding 250,000 miles of updated photography and double the number of image collections from notable spots around the world.

"We're increasing Street View coverage in Macau, Singapore, Sweden, the US, Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway and Canada," announced Ulf Spitzer, Google's Street View program manager. "And we're launching special collections in South Africa, Japan, Spain, France, Brazil and Mexico, among others."

Among the sites of interest covered in the new update include Elsinore Castle in Denmark, used by Shakespeare as the setting for Hamlet – although there are no ghosts on the ramparts, as far as we can see. The monks of the famous Ferapontov monastery in Russia have also allowed Google's cameras in for the first time.

The updates will make Street View better for users trying to plan routes or find out where they are going, Spitzer said. The new special sites mean you don't have to travel, get ripped off by local taxi drivers, and elbow your way past fat, chattering tourists to get a feel for historic monuments – or maybe that's just El Reg's experience.

Spitzer was kind enough not to mention Apple by name, but Google is clearly not going to slow the development of its mapping service so that Cupertino can catch up.

Microsoft, too, was quick to stick the boot in after the iOS 6 Maps fiasco, recommending that disgruntled iPhone owners check out Bing maps as an alternative.

Both companies may be wasting their time - the attachment of fanbois to Apple could be too strong to break, according to a recent poll which found Maps was only important to less than one in ten Apple users. The sample size and methodology of the survey make the results a little untrustworthy, but suggest that Apple might not have too much to worry about. ®

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