Last February, in an interview with the technology blog TechCrunch, a senior Google executive expressed a rather philosophical even postmodernist view on the future of maps.

"If you look at a map and if I look at a map, should it always be the same for you and me? I’m not sure about that, because I go to different places than you do," said Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps for mobile.

By mid-May, as Google announced the upcoming release of the new version of its flagship map service, it became clear that Graf wasn’t joking.