Google is testing a new feature on its Maps site that adds geo-tagged video from YouTube to maps in the same way that photos are currently added.
A glimpse at the new service was possible on Wednesday when what appeared to be a Google internal page was made available to some users of Google Maps in Japan. The page appeared only sporadically but its difference to the typical Google Maps page was given away by a line of text along the top of the map that allowed users to “report a bug or send feedback” and to “view external version” of the service.
The video layer could be switched on and off by mousing-over the “More” button at the top of the map. Currently that has check boxes to switch on photos or Wikipedia layers but the version seen on Wednesday had a video option as well.
When the video option was clicked, small thumbnails of videos began appearing all over a map of Japan. When a thumbnail was clicked, it brought up more information about the video and it was possible to click through and watch the video on YouTube.
The bug report was impossible to file because the link referenced a server that wasn’t available from the Internet and when the external version selection was made this additional line of text disappeared as did the YouTube video feature.
Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the video feature or the apparent availability of an internal page to external surfers.