Google Street View has turned 15 and Google is rolling out several new features to celebrate the milestone.
“Fifteen years ago, Street View began as a far-fetched idea from Google co-founder Larry Page to build a 360-degree map of the entire world,” Google’s Ethan Russell explains. “Fast forward to today: there are now over 220 billion Street View images from over 100 countries and territories—a new milestone— allowing people to fully experience what it’s like to be in these places right from their phone or computer. And Street View doesn’t just help you virtually explore, it’s also critical to our mapping efforts, letting you see the most up-to-date information about the world while laying the foundation for a more immersive, intuitive map.”
Google is rolling out the following new Street View features:
New camera. Google is piloting a new camera that will fully roll out next year that collects high-quality images from more places. Thanks to its tiny new size—it’s the size of a house cat, Google says—the new camera can “be taken to remote islands, up to the tops of mountains or on a stroll through your local town square.” It weighs less than 15 pounds and can fit on top of any car.
Travel back in time. As I wrote about last week, Street View now supports the ability to see Street View imagery from as far back as is possible (2007), depending on the location.
More immersive imagery. Street View uses AI to highlight recently opened businesses, new hours at favorite places, updated speed limitation information, and other fresh data. It can interact with Live View to overlay navigation instructions on top of the view from your camera. And it has a growing library of rich, digital models of places around the world, letting you “glide down to street level on Maps and even check out the inside of a business as if you were walking around.”
To celebrate, Street View’s Pegman—the little yellow character you can pick up and drop anywhere in Maps to see Street View on desktop—will be dressed up in a birthday hat and balloons, Google adds. Also, be sure to check out Google’s latest Street View adventures, a set of 15 new Street View collections that make it fun to explore the world.