Google has introduced a new update to Google Maps: when you zoom out all the way, the Earth will no longer be displayed as a flat surface, but instead as a globe. It is a change that will allow the map to be more accurate and display Earth the right way.
The search company highlighted the change on its Google Maps Twitter feed, tweeting that with the new 3D Globe Mode, "Greenland’s projection is no longer the size of Africa." However, the change is only available on the desktop interface; it is still flat in its mobile app.
Google Maps has always used a Mercator projection, which portrays the planet onto a flat surface. While this style does make it easy to print onto maps and has largely become standardized, it presents a distorted image of what Earth actually looks like. Objects around the equator are to scale relative to one another, while objects closer to the poles appear larger than they really are. A good example of this is the relative size of Greenland and Africa. On a Mercator map, Greenland appears to be larger than Africa, when in reality Africa is 14 times larger.
The change is recent in a series from the company. In June, Google redesigned its Explore section to make it easier to find restaurants, and a recent update added one’s battery life status to location sharing. Guess we will have to wait and see what is next...