Google says it has added coral reef panoramas to Street View in its maps, allowing users to navigate around the marine sites.
The panoramic images of several coral reefs have been obtained by the Catlin Seaview Survey, a project investigating the health of the reefs and the impact on them of global warming.
Google maps have previously included computer-generated views of sea floor topology, but this is the first time the search giant has incorporated underwater photography.
"We want to be a comprehensive source for imagery that lets anyone explore anywhere," Jenifer Foulkes, Google's ocean program manager, told the BBC.
Locations added to Google's maps include several from Australia's Great Barrier Reef as well as Hawaii's Hanauma Bay and Molokini Crater and Apo Island in the Philippines.
The actual photography to create the images was carried out by a scientists funded by the Catlin Group, a Bermuda-based insurance firm.
"The main reason is to record reef environments on an unprecedented scale and reveal them to the world," project directory Richard Vevers said.
"It's about creating a global reef record -- something that has been missing and something that is very much needed," he said. "Scientists from around the world will now be able to study reefs remotely and very clearly see how they are changing."
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