Just weeks after Google’s most recent upgrade to Street View, Google announced even more for the platform. The first update is the ability to access historical imagery from past versions of Maps. This isn’t anything particularly new for Google Maps. This has been possible since 2014. What is new is the fact that the feature will soon be available on its Android and iOS apps.
The second update is a hardware upgrade for Google. It will use newer 360-degree cameras for Street View cars.
These updates were announced in lieu of the tech conglomerate’s Street View anniversary, which was released 15 years ago today.
No clearing history
The ‘new’ historical data Street View will work as follows. Just tap on your screen while in Street View (anywhere on the screen is ok) and then select ‘see more dates’. Easy, no?
Google says that historical data for any place will be available, as long that data exists. In other words, if a Street View car has travelled through an area post-2007, you will see the history of that area.
We can’t really play with Google’s second update, sadly. It’s a new 360° camera for Google’s Street View cars. The camera is set to phase out the need for Google to have dedicated vehicles, since the new model is smaller and lighter than its predecessor. The camera is much lighter and smaller too, weighing just 6.8kg and is “roughly the size of a house cat”, as Google puts it.
It’s also quite cute.
But the camera looking cute isn’t what’s important. It’s what Google will do with the new camera tech they’ve made available. The head of Street View’s hardware team, Steven Silverman says the upgrades on the panoramic view will offer decent benefits. “The sensors are even higher quality, they’re lower signal to noise. These images are going to be even more beautiful.”
The new camera features seven sensors, each capturing 140MP resolution images when travelling around the place. Steven Silverman also mentioned that lidar sensors aren’t built in automatically, but with the way they’re built, custom ones can be added when needed.
Friend with benefits
The new camera size will affect what we see around the world. The company has used older, clunkier Street View cameras on snowmobiles and gondolas to get decent shots for Street View. But now, the sky is the limit for Street View – and with Google, that could well be the case.
Google will be releasing its new cameras on the new cars as soon as next year. They won’t replace all the dedicated Street View cars, just adding to the current fleet. This is because Google like having its camera cars travelling constantly, providing Google Maps with up-to-date info.
Source: The Verge