Internet users will soon be able to contribute to Google Street View themselves

An update to Google’s Street View app on Android now allows any user to share their photos on Google Maps. The Californian giant indicated on December 3 to make accessible to all users the possibility of recording a series of several “connected” images as they move.

The smartphone can sense its surroundings, including the size and location of surfaces, detect the position of the phone in relation to the world around it and the lighting conditions. Once the images are published in the application, Google automatically rotates them in order to position them correctly to create a series of connected photos, before placing them in the right place on Google Maps to make them visible to other users.

Based on ARCore technology

Street View services have collected over 170 billion images, “but there are still many parts of the world unmapped“, explains Stafford Marquardt, Product Manager, Google Maps Street View, in a blog post. Hence the development of a simpler technology and free or almost, for the tech giant.

Google’s Street View images will be published by default, but private photos will complement the Street View layer in the form of a dotted blue line (against a continuous blue line for “official” photos). The company will also use data from user photos to update Google Maps with the names and addresses of unregistered businesses, as well as certain information, such as store hours for example.

This novelty is based on ARCore technology, developed by Google to create augmented reality experiences, already used for Live View, its augmented reality route service, launched last year. This deployment therefore only concerns compatible Android smartphones, Android 7.0 (Nougat) and later versions. But this implies that the capture no longer requires a 360-degree camera, which makes the use of the service very easy for a user regardless of their location. Only a compatible Android mobile phone and an Internet connection are required, adds Google, which specifies that, initially, only certain geographical areas are concerned.

Available in beta in a handful of areas

The Mountain View giant specifies that it uses the same rules of confidentiality on these photos as on its own Street View images, captured via the famous vehicles of the same name. In other words, data such as vehicle license plate numbers, as well as people’s faces, are blurred. Users can also report images and other content.

Tested in Nigeria, Japan and Brazil, the service is now available in beta in the Street View app in Toronto (Canada), New York and Austin (United States), Indonesia and Costa Rica. Other regions should be added “as the test progresses“says Google.

Aude Chardenon


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