As many users of Google Street View can attest, repeatedly clicking the forward and backward arrows makes for a less-than-smooth navigation experience. Today Google addressed this issue by introducing a smart navigation feature designed to make exploring Street View easier.

Google Street View will now show an oval shape as you drag your cursor around and a rectangle when you move across the facades of buildings. Google calls these shapes "pancakes." Double click on the spot and you'll be transported in that direction.

If you see a magnifying glass inside the pancake, double clicking will let Google know to zoom in. Hitting the "Back to the previous image" link in the upper-left address box returns you to the previous location.

Google says its new offering "allows you to do superhuman things like jump from one side of a river to another to see a faraway building" and that "by giving you a sense of depth, it makes the flat image almost feel three-dimensional!" We're not so sure about the super human part, but it is an improvement over the arrow-only option.

Read Google's full post below for more details on the "pancake" navigation feature or click on the Street View demo above to see it in action.