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Google Maps to come with "Next Dimension"

Apple is reportedly planning to incorporate its own 3D-mapping technology into iOS 6. Will rival Google beat it to the punch?

Google on Friday sent out invites for a press event next week in San Francisco where it promises to unveil "the next dimension of Google Maps," hinting it may also have some new 3D features on tap. The invite-only event is set for Wednesday, 6 June at 9:30 am Pacific.

Google said it will give attendees a "behind-the-scenes look at Google Maps." The Web giant will also "demo some of the newest technology and provide a sneak peek at upcoming features that will help people get where they want to go - both physically and virtually."

The timing of Google's press event is significant because it's less than a week before Apple is set to kick off its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). At the conference, Apple is expected to unveil the next major version of its iOS operating system, featuring a redesigned Maps application that no longer relies on Google's mapping services.

The most impressive new feature of Apple's new Maps app is said to be 3D mode, which could be added as an optional mapping layer, like the existing traffic, satellite, hybrid, and list layers.

Could Google also be getting ready to give its maps a 3D makeover? Signs point to yes, but we'll have to wait until June 6 to find out.

Google has already begun incorporating 3D technology into Maps. The Web giant last month added a new feature to Google Maps that lets users see 3D photo tours of more than 15,000 popular sites around the world.