Google has licensed technology that will enable Google to map out 3-D versions of cities world wide.
According to a Mercury News report, the technology was developed by a team of Stanford University students and was used to run a robotic car that won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge.
Although Google is the market leader in mapping, to date it has lagged behind Microsoft’s Virtual Earth in terms of 3-D functionality.
The new technology will allow photo-realistic 3-D maps of cities creating the possibility that the 3-D data could be used as a basis to launch a virtual world, or licensed to existing online worlds such as Second Life.
The technology differs from the existing 3-D rendering in Google Earth; the licensed technology will allow Google to model 3-D cities using computer power alone and without the need for developer input.
An official announcement is expected at the Where 2.0 conference May 29-30.