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Around the world in 60 seconds:

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Google introduces Helicopter View. No need to fasten seatbelts.

Fancy a trip to Paris but can’t get time off work? A weekend in Istanbul but don’t fancy the flight? Well, now you can take a virtual holiday to your favourite destination via Google Maps – and it will only take you seconds to get there.

As if Google Earth and Street View weren’t enough, the search engine giant has come up with a function that allows people to see a 3D ‘helicopter’ view of their travel routes.

Users enter start and end destinations into Google Maps – and then take off for a virtual flight along their planned path, whether travelling by foot, car or via public transport.

En route, you can pause the flight and check out the surrounding area in 3D – by selecting links to photos, YouTube videos or Wikipedia pages related to locations and attractions in the area.

To access the Helicopter View, you first need to install the Google Earth plug-in, then go to Google Maps, choose ‘Get Directions’ and click the ‘3D’ button after mapping out your route.

You don’t even need to sit through pre-flight safety instructions. Sadly, a glass of complimentary champagne or a picture of you in a helicopter to make all your friends jealous are not included. But we can dream…

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