Google Street View sees major European expansion

Get ready for a new European adventure, desk-side travellers. Google has announced a major expansion of its Street View service across Europe, making its maps of the continent "more comprehensive and usable."

The web giant for the first time has added Street View imagery of Bulgaria, in addition to panoramas of nearly 200 new towns and cities in Russia, and thousands of miles of new UK imagery, Street View program manager Ulf Spitzer wrote in a blog post Thursday. Bulgaria is now the 48th country in which Street View imagery is available on Google Maps.

"This Bulgarian launch covers not only major economic centers such as Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna, but also historical and beloved towns like Veliko Turnovo and Koprvishtitsa," Spitzer wrote. "Users around the world can also virtually experience the beautiful ski resorts of Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo, and the stunning Architectural and Museum Reserve Tsarevets (pictured above) that sits on Tsarevets Hill in the old part of Veliko Tarnovo."

Those who prefer sun to snow can check out the Black Sea coast line, a popular summer tourist destination, and Nessebar, an ancient seaside town that also attracts many travelers.

Meanwhile, over in Russia, users can virtually travel to Sochi, the venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics, or check out the Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni, which is the largest Buddhist temple in the Republic of Kalmykia. Google first launched Street View images of Moscow and Saint Petersburg last February.

Finally, here in the UK, Google updated its imagery of cities including London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff. The Web giant also added new images in parts of the Scottish coastline, East Anglia, and South Wales.

Meanwhile, Google recently took its Street View cameras inside the Indianapolis Colts' stadium, more than 90 global ski resorts, and even to the Grand Canyon.