Google Maps sees the return of Pegman, real-time traffic info and more

He's back!

Google Pegman

A massive update will find its way to the new Google Maps for desktop soon, bringing a number of features like 3D Earth Tours, Waze traffic info and enhanced Street View imagery along for the ride.

Perhaps most importantly for those who missed him, Pegman is back.

The little geometric guy now wonders the space on the bottom right of your browser, ready to take users on the Street View tour of over 50 countries at a moment's notice.

Give him a click, and roads with Street View support illumiate in blue. Hovering over a highlighted road will give users a thumbnail street-level preview before they dive in.

Users will notice blue circles dotted across their maps. These represent Photo Spheres, or spots that have user-uploaded photos. A 360-degree tour of locales comprised of land, air and sea pics populate the page, while yellow circles take users inside museums, restaurants and airplanes, to name a few.

Google Maps
Culture from your couch

The road ahead

For those times users are wandering in parts unknown, Google has added a step-by-step preview feature that shows a street-level snapshot of each decision point of a route. Clicking the "preview steps" option pops up these points for pre-trip study.

Maps will also take advantage of real-time traffic info provided courtesy of Waze, a company Google purchased earlier this year.

Finally, and for the most fun, zoom around Planet Earth with Maps' 3D Tours. You may have never seen Fenway Park in its big green flesh, but Google Maps gives you the chance to check it out virtually.

Those who signed up for the new Google Maps preview will see these new features land today, while the rest have a few weeks to wait.