NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, January 2008
How to use Google Street Views to see…
streets, places, routes and faces!

by Linda Gonse, Editor and Webmaster,
Orange County IBM PC Users’ Group, CA

editor@orcopug.org (click to email author)

Obtained from APCUG with the author's permission for publication by APCUG member groups.

Beyond the curiosity of the new panoramic on-the-road reality shots, Google’s detailed Street Views give you a feel for really being where you want to go. Although only a handful of large cities are represented in these views, it’s still likely you will want to look for destinations in them occasionally.

If you aren’t familiar with Street Views, go to Google.com and click on Maps, a link at the top of the screen. Type in a location of a street or a city. If one of the boxes at the top of the map shown says “Street View,” click on it.

A map looking like a plate of blue spaghetti shows where panoramic shots were taken. (Figure 1.)

Zoom in to see streets outlined in blue. (Figure 2.)

A “person” icon (that’s you) is facing in the direction you are heading. You can move the icon to wherever you wish to go, or simply double-click on one of the blue-lined streets. You can enlarge a panoramic shot to full screen, so you don’t have to squint to see into a little peek-a-boo window. Other handy features allow you to zoom in and out, and to “drive” along a street or freeway by clicking on an arrow with your mouse. You can look in all four directions, of course, and the names of the streets and the routes are superimposed on the photos. (Figure 3.) You can even email the view to family or friends.

In the meantime, a different type of map searcher is ignoring the privacy controversy caused by Google Street View’s high-quality, crystal-clear, panoramic photos, and are magnifying certain side-of-the- road scenes they find and sharing them online! What they’ve found falls into categories, which include actual lawbreaking or crimes in progress, people doing ordinary things that seem extraordinary when you know that people worldwide will be seeing them; surreal sights caused by the panoramic camera being halted or later photo-stitching in an editing program; visual commentaries about places and people; and street views divulging the homes of the famous, or landmark homes and places. Map searchers uploaded these mini-slices of life to http://www.streetviewr.com. Check out the maps and see what you can find. Maybe you’ll even see yourself in one of the shots! This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).

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