Friday, January 13, 2012
Google has boosted the number of college campuses that can be toured on Street View, the company's 360-degree photographic map. The University of San Diego and San Diego State University are among the 27 U.S. schools on the list.
SAN DIEGO SDSU and USD now share a distinction with Stanford and Cornell. The universities have all given Google permission to come to the schools and photograph the campus for its 360-degree virtual map.
The list of campuses mapped on Google Street View is still pretty small; there are only 27 schools in the U.S. on it. Google just tripled the total number of viewable international campuses, and company officials said it is the best way to give people a feel for the campuses without actually going there.
"Real pictures of real places that are carefully located on a map are really a valuable important piece of information, so in some ways you can think of it as an extension of the normal Google search," said Daniel Ratner, a Google engineer.
Ratner used a three-wheeled bike to take the Google camera around campuses.
"The car is a much bigger platform and can go at higher speeds whereas the trike has been specifically designed to reach the various walkways, pedestrian-only pathways that you find on places like SDSU and USD," said Ratner.
If people can walk there, they can see it on a virtual tour on Google's website.
Privacy issues keep the firm from mapping universities without a request, and the faces of people in the photos are blurred out to protect their privacy. Google is also mapping the indoor areas of some buildings and shopping malls, in an effort to help people navigate unfamiliar places.