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Oct 29 2010

Google Street View: Tour Guide or Art?

by Nolan R

It’s been some time since we posted about Google Street View, but I recently ran across a blog that adds a whole new dimension to Google’s mapping product, making it a little less creepy and a little more artsy.  Matt Bucher, a writer and editor from Austin, TX, searches for interesting photos on Google Street View and posts them to his blog Apres Garde.  His technique seems somewhat akin to the old game of spinning a globe and stopping it with your finger:  he takes Pegman, Google’s “plucky mascot,” and drops him down in the middle of a map and sees what comes up.  The photos vary from landscapes to street scenes and everything in between, and are posted out of context and without description.  Many of them capture an interesting moment in time and it’s easy to forget they were taken by a Google camera car.

In this post for Google Sightseeing, Bucher talks about his blog and explains some of the photos, as well as why he prefers not to label each photo.  If you prefer your photos as tour guide, not art, spend some time exploring Google Sightseeing.

I tried Bucher’s method myself and came up with some pretty landscape photos, but failed to find anything as interesting as the photos he’s posted with people in them.  I like the way Google captures people doing everyday things, and found it to be a great way to get a feel for a place without being there.  I’m also happy to find a use for Google Street View that doesn’t feel so invasive, somehow, although I’m not sure how those captured in the photos might feel about it.  What do you think?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tosh Norfair October 29, 2010 at 4:34 PM

There was an article about the google car and some of the crimes that have been witnessed by the car.

Jimmy L October 29, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Very cool. I love found/accidental art like that. Also, I found out recently that Google Street View now covers parts of Antarctica! And instead of dragging a little man around, you get to drag a penguin around. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/explore-world-with-street-view-now-on.html

Nolan R November 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM

Thanks, Jimmy! The penguin is pretty cool, and some of the photos are gorgeous.

Tosh, I was kind of overwhelmed by how many sites there are devoted to Google Street View images and car sightings. I also found one that talks about how much crime the Brazil photos caught on camera, but I won’t post it here due to some pretty graphic images. You could, well, Google it, I guess :)

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