Wednesday, August 8, 2007
has just added San Diego to its Street View feature, which collects street-level photos documenting a city's... well, streets, but also the businesses, residences, and even people on those streets.
Here's how it works: you go to Google Maps , type in a local address, then click on the Street View tab and it will take you there. For example, you can search for Balboa Park and actually get a street-level tour of the park .
Still from Google's Street View San Diego, College Area
Street View has been available in New York and San Francisco for a while. One of my friends who recently moved to San Francisco used it religiously as she searched for the right neighborhood. She would look for coffeehouses, restaurants and bars in the areas she was considering. It's great for this and for travel purposes -- oh, and for wasting hours at work doing "research." Yes, while testing the San Diego version of Street View for this post, I got sucked in and just started zooming in everywhere to see if there was someone I knew on the streets! Even though I knew, rationally, the chances of this were slim, I couldn't stop myself. I don't know the people pictured on the right, but they are a block away from KPBS in this image.
Of course, this brings up major privacy issues . When the service started in San Francisco, bloggers posted images of a man walking into an adult bookstore and another picking his nose (gross!). Here's a site collecting images found on Street View .
It's easy for me to sit here and think it's a great information source, especially for travel purposes. On the other hand, my heinie wasn't captured by the Google camera truck for all of web surfing posterity!