Provided by Google and designed by Lars and Jens Rasmussen, Google Maps is a desktop and mobile web-mapping service application and technology.
The service started as a C++ program at the Sydney-based company Where 2 Technologies. In October 2004, it was acquired by Google where it was transformed into the web application Google Maps. Google Maps offers satellite imagery, street maps, and street view perspectives, which allow users to view streets before traveling.
Other functions include route planner (for travel by foot, car, bicycle, or public transportation) and locators for urban businesses and other organizations. Although Google Maps satellite images are not updated in real time, Google adds data to its primary database on a regular basis, and most images are no more than three years old.
In June 2005, Google launched Google Maps API, a service that allows developers to integrate Google Maps into their websites. In October 2005, Google introduced a Java application, Google Maps for Mobile, that allows users to run the service on any Java-based phone or mobile device.