Press invites are going out for a Google Maps press event next Wednesday, June 6, where the company says it'll show off the "next dimension" of Maps. That'll be some sort of 3D offering then, we'd imagine. Right now the Google Maps web interface supports 3D features through WebGL, while the Android app can show 3D buildings and Street View images. So presumably whatever's next will be an expansion of these features, possibly bringing in elements of Google Earth, too.
Little solid information is presented with the invite, though attendees are promised a "behind-the-scenes look at Google Maps," as well as a demo of "some of the newest technology" and "upcoming features." These will apparently "help people get where they want to go -- both physically and virtually." So new 3D functionality is certainly a safe bet.
The event will take place just five days before the start of Apple's WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference), where Google's arch-rival is expected to unveil its own iOS maps solution. Right now Maps on iOS is powered by Google Maps, and recent reports have suggested Apple will look to re-vamp Maps with new 3D features, and a new non-Google back-end. (Thus depriving its foe of the associated ad revenue.)
The natural place for this kind of Google Maps announcement might've been the Google IO Developer Conference, which takes place in late June. But by strutting its 3D stuff a few weeks earlier, Google will be hoping to beat Apple to the punch. Whatever's shown off next week, you can bet Android will account for at least part of it, and so we'll be watching with interest next Wednesday.