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October 27, 2008

Google Street View Tidbits

The French blog Zorgloob found some interesting information about Google Street View, the project that wants to capture street level photographs all over the world.

After launching Street View in the US, Australia, Japan and France, Google will expand the coverage to Spain tomorrow. The next countries will be Italy, Germany, UK and the Netherlands. Google has just started to capture photos in the Eastern Europe, as you can see from these images taken in Bucharest, Romania.

Zorgloob estimates that Google's cameras take 8 simultaneous photos every 5 meters and each compressed photo has about 1 MB. That means each kilometer adds 1.6 GB of data.

And when Street View cars aren't allowed, Google uses tricycles. Capturing street-level imagery is a big effort (Zorgloob says that Google Street View costs 500 million Euro) and it may seem that the benefits aren't very significant, but Street View makes Google Maps more valuable and it's a great opportunity to connect Google with the real world.

Zorgloob's original article (in French) | English translation


  1. I wonder "Each kilometer makes 1.6 GB..."

  2. If somehow... someone could just tell us when to expect a good map for Romania for Google Maps :) :)

    Mai asteptam mult Alex? :)

  3. I found a nice table that shows Google Maps' coverage. Google Maps has map tiles, driving directions and business listings for only 21 countries.

    For Romania, Google Maps has map tiles for major roads and geocoding, but I've noticed a lot of incomplete business listings and decent driving directions, so the launch is near.

  4. I saw the streetview cars in Mexico City about two weeks ago. It will be mind-boggling if they are able to compose a 3D map of this place, it will be the first time in a half-century that anyone has any idea what is even in this city.

  5. There can be little doubt that Google is using the photography runs (mapped to GPS data) to also capture very high resolution images and even video as well, then selling this data to law enforcement agencies and spy institutions.

  6. They are already taking pictures.

    I have spottet a StreetView car over a month ago in Germany.

  7. Tom's post is based on infos a googler posted in the comments on GoogleWatchBlog :)

  8. Google launched Australia street view in early August, I thought New Zealand would be the next country. Obviously, I am a bad predictor, just need a little bit more patience.......

  9. jmedinajinatlantagaOctober 28, 2008 at 10:53 AM

    Lets see, Google maps, then Google street view (nearly 3D), wireless broadband (3G), built-in GPS units (and all this now on phones -- Apple Iphone). I believe in near realtime they will write a 'killer app' that will put all this together and you can walk, drive, jog thru anywhere with a 3D streetview ! Think of that !
    NEVER getting lost where your add since you have physical ref. points. Now THAT would be worth subscribing to at 9.99 a month perhaps more. Those Google guys are not only brilliant but quite forward thinking...

  10. Okay, so when are you guys (Google) gonna drive that car north of the border into Canada? I'd sure like to see steet view here.

  11. And what about, for appetizers, EU highways, smaller highways & national higways and the biggest cities. That should give us something over here in Belgium.

    Just speaking out to be somewhat less forgotten...

    Damned US-centric multinational... How about Gmail Labs offered outside English (US) and English (UK)-speaking version, huh? Ah well, I guess a lot of those labs options will "graduate" to at least "Beta" when Gmail becomes 5 y.o. and loses the BETA tag.

  12. We just need to combine the maps with a gps to make a version of tom tom that would never let you get lost