Google Maps (for a time named Google Local) is a basic web mapping service application and technology provided by Google, free (for non-commercial use), that powers many map-based services, including the Google Maps website, Google Ride Finder, Google Transit, and maps embedded on third-party websites via the Google Maps API. It offers street maps, a route planner for traveling by foot, car, or public transport and an urban business locator for numerous countries around the world. According to one of its creators (Lars Rasmussen), Google Maps is “a way of organizing the world’s information geographically”.
Google Maps uses the Mercator projection, so it cannot show areas around the poles. A related product is Google Earth, a stand-alone program for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, SymbianOS, iPhone OS, and Google’s own Android OS which offers more globe-viewing features, including showing polar areas.
The Google Maps Alphabet (BTW awesome song)