Sorry flat-Earthers, Google Maps now zooms out to a globe

You can even spin it.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
2 min read
Google Maps' new Globe Mode.

Google Maps' new Globe Mode.

Screenshot by Marrian Zhou/CNET

Google Maps rolled out a globe on Friday, most likely frustrating internet-connected flat-Earthers around -- sorry, across -- the world.

Click on the new Globe Mode, zoom out, and the Earth will morph into a globe, which, by the way, is the actual shape of our planet. Use your mouse and you can twirl it.

Globe Mode -- such a creative name! -- is designed to address a problem with often-used flat projections. Also known as Mercator projections, the renderings don't accurately portray the areas of regions that are far away from the equator. For example, Greenland appears to be about the same the size as Africa even though it's actually much smaller than the continent.

In a tweet, Google said Globe Mode fixes that problem.

"With 3D Globe Mode on Google Maps desktop, Greenland's projection is no longer the size of Africa," the Google Maps team tweeted on Friday. "Just zoom all the way out."

Globe Mode is available only on desktop and, like Google Earth, is part of the company's efforts to bring more-accurate representations of the world to its users.

Flat-Earthers, many of whom believe our planet is encircled by a wall of ice and that gravity doesn't exist, were quick to find fault. Globe Mode, they say, is just another flawed mapping technique.

"From a Flat Earth point of view, this is a change from one inaccurate projection (Mercator) to another (a globe)," Pete Svarrior, a social media manager at the Flat Earth Society, said in an email. "Google Maps is a product ... [that] tries to deliver what [its] customers want to receive. Most people firmly believe that the Earth is a globe -- it's sensible business to display it as one."

Flat-Earthers can discuss this at their leisure, if they can get their convention organized.