(PC Mag) – Later today, Google will kick off its annual Google I/O conference, an event that often offers an sneak peek at the newest projects and experiments the company has in the works. Things got off to an early start last night, however, when what appears to be the next version of Google Maps leaked online.
The launch screens for the new version of Google Maps appeared briefly, but have since been taken down. But Android-focused site Droid Life managed to capture screen shots of the leak before it disappeared. The new Google Maps seems to incorporate data from your Google account to highlight areas and locations that are important to you.
In addition to the automated location curation, the new maps also appears to add Google Flight Search into the traditional Google Maps product, allowing users to easily plan trips directly from the normal Google Maps screen rather than visiting a separate site. Perhaps the most interesting feature, though, is the inclusion of Google Earth as an option. This is a combination many fans of Google Maps have wanted for some time, but up until now the most realistic topographic images offered by Google Maps have been Street View and the satellite viewing option.
The ability to type in an address, zoom in to to that address on Street View, and then zoom out using Google Earth would likely end any discussion about which company has the best mapping software. If these leaked images turn out to be accurate in terms of showing off the real features of the new Google Maps, users will finally have what can easily be called the most powerful mapping software on the planet, bar none.
PCMag will be at Google I/O today, meanwhile, so tune in at noon Eastern for details from the opening keynote. Until then, see What to Expect at Google I/O 2013.