Is it just me, or does Google Maps get better and better every three months? Google launched Street View to Maps today at Where 2.0, the ability to view places to their exact location from a front, photographic view — and navigate like a person walking down the street. In the past, Amazon and Microsoft have tried something similar with their mapping services. A demo of the feature can be found here.
Currently, Street View will only be available in Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and San Francisco, but like all things Google, this is likely to expand. Google reportedly partnered with Immersive Media, a provider of ‘geomatics,’ to enable this. Unlike previous ‘mashups’ which have enabled people to post photos and such of specific places and refer them to the locations, this is a new kind of technology which provides fluid images of all parts of covered areas.
The way it works, a new tab is visible for covered places called “Street View.” All covered streets are highlighted in blue, and clicking on a spot on the blue streets activates a tiny icon of a person, which can be dragged and navigated around. The images appear to be of fairly high resolution.
The way mapping technology is headed, I’m excited for the future. The fact that players Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! are in such a one-up competition situation makes it even better. It’s worth noting that when such a feature is introduced, it takes a fair amount of time for the coverage to reach to other places, and eventually other countries. Nevertheless, it is something to be expected, and while I’m not too happy with Google spying on my front door, I do like the idea of spying on others. 😉