Google street view has been hitting the news recently, not because it is offering something new, but mainly because it’s by Google. The service offers the ability to view images of towns from street level, allowing the user to move along roads in a ‘virtual’ world. It’s an interesting service, and it certainly poses some powerful questions about privacy, although that’s not the subject of this post.
I have recently used Google maps, combined with street view, to find businesses, hotels or restuarants in parts of the world that i’ve never been to. I found an electronics retailer in Pottsville, Australia, i found a hotel and a Japanese restaurant in Manchester – all thanks to these services. Now this technology is not new, you have been able to search online directories for nearly as long as the internet has been around, but street view definitely adds another level.
I was called by someone who was not sure where they were going, they knew what street they were on, but not which way to go. Pull up street view, check it against Google maps and hey presto…”you should see a cafe on your left, walk past that then take the next right”. It is a truly revolutionary step. The ability to step inside the map and actually see the streets, see the shops and read the signposts makes the task so much easier.