Does Google think the world is flat?

Google MapsExperimenting with Google Maps today, I was trying to see if there were any backdoors to maps of countries other than the USA and Canada - the only two countries they map at present. I tried changing the domain to maps.google.co.uk (and other country domains) and I tried adding parameters to the end of the URL but neither worked despite numerous attempts.

At that point I wondered what would happen if I scrolled across the Atlantic, maybe something would pop up that way. Nothing did, and the sea mysteriously went grey, but still they allowed me to scroll as far as I wanted. One thing that struck me as a little odd (despite them letting you scroll beyond the limits of the map) was that no matter how far I scrolled, I never came back to the maps of the USA and Canada. It's interesting that they have implemented a system which isn't based on a globe, it's still based on flat, projected maps.

I wonder what will happen when - I say when because almost certainly they will - implement other country maps. Will they use a completely separate system for each or will they try to stitch them all together so people like me don't get lost in the middle of the ocean? Multimap, one of the most popular British mapping sites, appears to get around this problem by using a map layer which covers more than a single country. I think the map data that Google Maps use also allows them to do this, so perhaps they will implement a single system but with local sites zooming to the country of interest when loaded.