The Google Maps and Street View could get a minor upgrade to their user interface. Currently, the navigational controls on these mapping applications appear separate from the actual image area. According to a patent application filed by Google with the US Patents & Trademark Office, the new UI could bring these controls on top of the location being viewed.
Google explains that such a change could make better use of the screen space.
“Conventional navigation controls are often located on a tool bar in the UI which is separate from the image display area. Having the navigation controls located at a different location in the UI than the imagery can consume screen space which could be otherwise used for providing additional UI functionality, advertising and the like. Moreover, having the navigation controls separate from the imagery can force the user to take their eyes off the imagery while navigating.”
The application notes that this will also improve upon one other important navigational element. Currently, users have to navigate incrementally through clicks – either on the navigational controls on the top corner of the page or by flicking through the image itself. The new controls, the patent application says, will let users to merely click on the navigational wheel to denote navigation and merely drag the cursor to various directions to see the mapping application respond appropriately.
“The user rotates imagery by clicking on any portion of the rotation control 302 and dragging the cursor to affect the rotation. The rotation control 302 allows the user to rotate smoothly in all directions without incremental stops. In some implementations, the rotation control 302 includes “sticky” points at North, South, East and West to help the user hit an exact target orientation.”
The application was filed in March of this year and has been made public only recently.