Google has launched a new mapping element to its Google maps offering allowing user to get 360-degree views of some streets at street level.

Currently only available for a limited number of American cities, the new feature will provide a street-level picture of downtown areas of New York, Denver, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Miami.

Google said it planned to roll out the service to metropolitan areas in other Google regions including the UK and Australia, although there was no timetable as yet.

"With Street View, you can virtually explore city neighbourhoods by viewing and navigating within 360-degree scenes of street-level imagery", Google product manager Stephen Chau said on the company's Lat Long blog. "It feels as if you're walking down the street."