Google-y Eyes

Tuesday, 2007-05-29; 21:53:00

So... I was browsing Slashdot today and came across this article regarding a new Google Maps feature that was introduced today: Street View. Apparently in select areas, you can now switch to the Street View, and you can see a 360° panorama of various locations on any street that is highlighted with a blue outline. The linked O'Reilly article shows some screenshots of the new feature, and links to an area of San Francisco that you can use to check out the feature yourself.

And then I thought to myself.. well, this is Google, right? I know they're ga-ga about San Francisco, but there's one other physical location they usually use to debut new features or products: their headquarters of Mountain View...


Yes, through the magic of Google, the whole world can now see my entire street, including the front of my house, from the comfort of their web browser. You can see our car parked out in front, and you can even zoom in three steps (complete with higher quality photos), enough to make it almost possible to read the license plate on our car. There's a big tree out front and lots of bushes near our front door, so you can basically only make out the general appearance of the front of our house, and the car. They're actually very recent photos; I would guess within the past few weeks.

Honestly, it's not really that much of an invasion of privacy at all. But I can just imagine the day when Google Street CCTV™ is introduced...

By the way, it is a pretty cool new Google Maps feature, though. The interface is slick. You just go to Google Maps and click on the Street View button. And then, without any instructions, I instinctively double-clicked on one of the blue-outlined streets and voilà, the photos from the location where I double-clicked came up. There are four levels of zoom, and you can – in typical Google style – just drag the photo around to change the direction of the panorama view. What's even cooler is that at the least level of zoom, you can click arrows in the direction that the street runs. So you could actually have a virtual walk around the neighborhood just via the photos; you don't have to continually go back to the map view. (Intersections will show arrows in four directions, too.)

Another benefit of being in the city where Google's headquarters are located: Mountain View is completely blanketed with free wireless internet access from Google. I can usually access it from my computer here at home, and you can pretty much access it from any street corner that you want. (It's not yet to the point where you can reliably surf on the internet while driving through Mountain View, though...)

By the way, one last funny thing that I should point out: redirects to Google. The whois info seems to indicate it's Google that registered it, too, not some fan of Google.

Technological Supernova   Intarweb   Older   Newer   Post a Comment