It appears that Google is experimenting with new controls for users to navigate through maps. The not-so-stylish, white buttons for selecting Map or Satellite view as well as the drop-list for toggling photos, buzz updates and other geo-taggable features seems to be going away. In their place, styled, graphical icons that expand and retract when you hover over them.
This change seems to have brought with it a great many more features in the “more” column. Each of these options correspond to changes and features Google has added to their Maps products.
The Maps team announced the integration of HotPot into Google Maps, one day before Google announced availability of the HotPot iPhone app. If you are not familiar with the product yet, HotPot is Google’s new social recommendation product. Basically, you go to places, rate, recommend and share them with your friends.
The Maps team also announced new 45° imagery within Google Maps, high-resolution images of locations around the United States. For now, only 10 cities have 45° imagery. However, the option is listed, albeit grayed out, in the Google Maps options. One can only presume that space will see HotPot in that list soon. With Buzz already integrated, Google certainly appears poised to be converging into the social space more and more.