Google has just revealed a radical update for Street View. The brand new camera mimics the Google Street View car, only it’s as small as a cat and is designed to help people map out remote areas. While the Google Street View car had roads as its limitation, the new Google Street View camera can be taken up mountains, into the desert or even to remote tropical islands.
If you cast your mind back to 2007 Gordon Brown was elected Prime Minister of the UK, Apple released the debut iPhone and Google launched Street View – a far-fetched idea to create a 360° map of the entire world. It was the brainchild of Google Co-founder Larry Page and now 15 years later, it’s hard to imagine life without it.
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We’ve all seen the Google car driving around, mapping out city streets and highways. There are more than 220 billion Street View images from over 100 countries and territories that enable people to experience what it’s like to be on a bustling road in Japan or in the quiet suburbs of Connecticut without leaving home. There’s even a game based on Street View called Geo Guessr which plops you somewhere in the world and using clues from Street View, you have to guess your whereabouts. The closer you get to your exact location, the more points you get.
The new camera weighs just 6.8kg so it can be shipped virtually anywhere in the world which is perfect for working with partners who want to capture imagery of under-mapped areas. It uses a modular design so that useful components such as Lider (aka laser scanners) can be added onto it to help mark things like potholes. You don’t need a specialized car to use the device either, any car or vehicle will do and best of all you can operate it straight from your smartphone.
Not only is Google launching a new Street View camera but it’s also changing the way we can access images on the service. From 24 May, iOS and Android users will be able to see a history of images taken in a specific place dating back to 2007. So if you want to see how your local area has changed in the last 15years, now you can at the touch of a button.
Google Street view undoubtedly changed the way we go about our everyday lives. I regularly find myself using it to check if I’m in the right place, to scope out what an area is like if I’m thinking about moving there or even to just see what obscure and funny things the Google Street View car has captured. This new announcement means that even more of the world will be available to see on Street View and the far-off places you thought you could never see for yourself have suddenly become a lot more accessible.