In the 12 years since the search giant launched Street View, which captures the globe at street level, the cars were the company’s worldwide ambassadors, prowling metropolitan metropolises and rural landscapes.
Google reported recently how much research these cars and other apps did to map the world: the company collected more than 10 million Street View imagery miles. The distance, Google said, would amount to circling the Earth more than 400 times.
The company also said that Google Earth, the aerial mapping service of the search giant, has a cumulative satellite imagery of 36 million square miles for users to explore. Google has mapped out the parts of the world with this series, where 98 percent of people live.
The numbers mark Google’s first publication of statistics on how much of the globe its apps have charted, providing insight into Google Maps ‘ reach. Maps is one of the company’s most popular products with more than 1 billion monthly users. It’s also an efficient way to deliver local advertising to the search giant.
Google’s co-founder Larry Page, who resigned earlier this month as CEO of Google’s parent Alphabet, created Street View in 2004. The goal was to construct a 360-degree world map that went beyond streets and highways to include towns, landmarks and mountain ranges. Google uses cars and backpacks called “trekkers” carried by hikers or tied to camels and sheep to get the images.
In the past, the mapping capabilities of the search giant have drawn criticism. Google faced a blowback after last year’s Associated Press revealed that it monitored the location of people even after turning off location sharing on their phones. Google has also been subject to scrutiny for the sale of app location data to law enforcement and other federal agents pursuing leads in investigations.
Russell emphasized that the mapping imagery of Google comes from public places that you would see when standing on the street or flying overhead. He said the company gets all of its satellite photographs from third-party providers.
Google, however, had ambitious satellite plans for a while. Google acquired Sky Box in 2014, a high-resolution satellite imaging company that said It would help keep the Maps app up-to-date. Sky Box also touted its ability via aerial photography to provide data and intelligence. For example, by analyzing the containers in an oil facility from above, a company might predict economic trends. Yet three years later, Google sold off the company and quit the satellite business.
Live View to land mines. Over the past few years, Google has been trying to build up maps as an intelligence hub, rather than just a navigation device. Google also added translation tools, food delivery services, and flight information and hotel booking information over the past few months.
Google Maps has always been about locations at its heart, however, and how to get to and from them. It involves the exterior of a specific building or understanding a certain region’s topography.
Google co-founder Larry Page wanted to create a 360-degree map of the world.
Google refers to a feature called Live View in advertising its vast repository of mapping imagery. The application uses augmented reality to spruce up walking directions on the web— to add digital graphics on top of real-world images. Live View is designed to solve the “blue dot problem,” the familiar feeling of walking out of a subway station, looking down on the Maps app’s blue dot, and spinning around to find your bearings. Live View uses the camera of your phone to display arrows showing you where to go.
Google has developed a new technology for the app to work because the GPS in phones is not accurate enough. The app compares Street View photos to the data on your phone to show you where to go in order to give people real-time directions.