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May 29

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Where 2.0: Google Launches Streetside View with Tech from ImmersiveMedia

las vegas coolness

This morning Google gave their 2D maps an incredible realworld addition. Its a street-view, that in certain cities, will let you get a street side view of the area you are currently in. This is not just a static, A9-style image. It will also let you move along the street in a smooth manner and even more amazing it will let you change your angle and continue moving that way. This will be formally launched at Where 2.0 later today.

As you can see from my probably-confusing-words above, this is something that you must interact with to really understand. It's awesome. Go. Check. It. Out. Now.

Where did they get this from? They are working with Immersive Media, a company that has an eleven lens camera capable of taking full, high-res video while driving along city streets. Each captured pixel is geotagged and primed for consumer use. Their main clients up till now have been city planners and the defense industry.

I met with Immersive Media's CEO Myles McGovern to schedule how company for Where 2.0; as soon as I saw it I knew that one of the larger mapping portals would snatch up their technology. The Google Maps implementation only lets you pan along the ground, but their full viewer lets you look up at the sky as you view their video. You can play with some richer demos on ImmersiveMedia's site.

Greg Sadetsky of Poly9 tipped me off to this release. He has done quite a bit of technical due diligence on the product. He has deduced that this has been launched in "Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and San Francisco". When I met with Immersive Media they had many more cities than this mapped, so expect more to come soon. Greg also noticed that they are using “Keyhole Server 2.4″ in the server and wonders if this will be available in Google Earth soon. My bet, yes. He also decompiled the source code for the flash viewer and made several other discoveries list on his blog post. Thanks Greg!

Immersive experiences are coming. Wait till this type of streetviewer is the regular view of your online map instead of just a small window into it.

Update: Michael T. Jones, Chief Technologist of Gogle Earth informs me "Only some of the Street View data is from Immersive, but not all of it. We have our own platforms and also license data from Immersive and others. San Francisco & South Bay are collected by us at greater resolution than Immersive."

You can learn more about all of this at Where 2.0. Google will be presenting later this morning. Immersive Media will be presenting Wednesday afternoon at Where 2.0. Poly9 will be at the Where Faire this evening.

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Helge said:

Can't see the feature yet from Austria / with Firefox.

Can't see it from the UK either, maybe it's just you guys sitting in the Conference Hall at Where 2.0...

Anonymous said:

nada here in Germany

Hugo Somersham-Jones said:

Nope, nothing here in central London either!

Hugo Somersham-Jones said:

Nope, nothing here in central London either!

Niraj said:

I don't entirely agree with your A9 comment. It is much like a static A9-style image. The difference between this and A9 is the images are much higher quality and you have more freedom of movement, but you're still dealing with static images, even if they've been stitched together. When you click to move, you still see the images fade from one to another, so it's just a nicer transition.

I always got "lost" in A9's product. With Street View I have lots of indicators as to where I'm at.

heiko hebig said:

can't see the feature in the map either. maybe not live yet for the rest of us?

Gacca Kai said:

Better stuff on live maps I think (birds eye view)!

DinoHorse said:

Perfectly working here in MIAMI ! Amazing feature!

DinoHorse said:

As i could see on my neighborhood (Miami Beach) The pictures where taken about 3 months ago (based on some municipal time specific ads hanging in some streets)…. I wonder if this will be updated every other year, or months?

Leo Klein said:

Until it hits Chicago, it hasn't hit big time.

Ken Simon said:

The problem with A9 was that, over time, the images became outdated. Businesses come and go so rapidly on city streets -- and after a while, I found that I couldn't really trust what I saw on A9. This Google product has a terrific "cool" factor, but I echo DinoHorse's sentiments -- I'd like to know how they plan to keep the content fresh.

Map Ninja said:

This isn't new technology. Microsoft's Virtual Earth site launched a similar feature more than a year ago for a couple of cities ( I ran into a company called Facet Technology at a trade show last fall, they collected the imagery for Microsoft's effort. They were showing their 360 degree spherical imagery that was higher resolution than Immersive Media's (who had a booth across the hall). I would assume Microsoft will launch in a big way soon.

brady said:

@map Ninja - this is very new. MS's Streetside preview was static images taken from one angle. This is video that can viewed and advanced from any angle. Also they have released 5 cities instead of 2 -- not to mention the improved UI!
MS has been working with Facet, but they have not released that data yet.

As per the Birds Eye views, that I amazing work, but still not video and still only from a set angle and without the ability to change the angle at will.

Kevin said:

Will it be a problem for Google that you can read the license plate numbers on a lot of the cars?

Frank said:

There is another company based in Whistler Canada that has been doing some immersive virtual tours based on walking around a destination or facility. These are completely dynamic tours. The customized media player provides, map, detailed information, 'show me', and the ability to jump to other virtual tours. Within the virtual tour - click when you see the wide arrow to transition to the next virtual tour. Here is the link to the Whistler ski hill.

The companies home page is at

Anonymous said:

Dude, you gotta work on your writing...

"Each captured pixel that is geotagged and primed for consumer use. "

You write in horrible fragments like a sixth grader.

What are you? A line editor from

Click Here said:

This is amazing! Great images...can't wait until they get my city done. Keep it up google!

Anonymous said:

Yet unlike Google Maps, it uses Flash.

Well as most of the Comments states that these technology are not avail in most part of the world. We have to wait for some years to come , to experience the reality. every new invention takes TIME and Money!

Peter said:

I can see it from holland!
And i works great

Jonathan said:

I found a cool little easter egg in Street View. If you wander around the Google Campus in Palo Alto, you'll find a group of wild idiots hanging out by the road wearing green shirts with little yellow buses on them. It's clearly a staged gathering, and they knew damned well where their picture was going. What do you think - GMaps engineers or random hippies?

Philippe said:

The feature only exists for some cities in the U.S. You have to search for USA in Google Maps before the Street View icon shows. has had a similar feature with static images for some time for France. IMHO, the Flash video is cool, but I'd rather have more coverage -- images of many areas -- over cool videos of only select areas.

Thijs said:

@Helge, @Alasdair, @Hugo

I didn't worked here yesterday either, but now it does. I think it has something to do with caching, try clearing your browser's cache.

Thijs said:

@Helge, @Alasdair, @Hugo

I didn't worked here yesterday either, but now it does. I think it has something to do with caching, try clearing your browser's cache.

geekr said:

Does Google Maps Street View has the same coverage as the Immersive Media demo as shown here?

spoonyfork said:

I can't wait to see these guys try this in Detroit.

Looks great to me.
but it uses flash.

David Carnes said:

I worked for a company in the early 90's that was doing this. I actually mapped the city of Houston myself with two other guys. We had 10 cameras in a van shooting interlaced video to Betacam SP. We mapped the frame number of the tape to GPS lat and long with screaming 486/66 PCs. From there we digitized the tape and you could drive around the block. This was when a 9 GB drive cost $5K.

The Company - Geospan is still around and kicking. They've added some bells and whistles - including photogrammetry - the ability to measure distances within the images....

Anonymous said:

Someone who uses "Dude" and "gotta" is critiquing your writing style???

MasterCKO said:

so the fact that it uses Flash doesn't bother me one bit. In this world of stupid flash websites with annoying music and spinning circles and blinking lights and useless transitions (all of which serve no functional purpose), I'm glad that Google created a feature that finally makes Flash worth having.

Chris said:

It works outside the us, but only with a little trick.

Go to one of the cities (by searching, doesn't seem to work when going there by panning), then click on "Link to this page". In your URL you will then see something like
Replace the XX after hl (probably language or location) with us, so that it looks like:

Then it works ;-)

Isaac said:

Check out the Flamingo, Algonquin intersection in Las Vegas, theres a giant purple cyclone in the middle of the road.

To get there look north on I-15 until you see Flamingo, then look east until you hit Algonquin. Trippy stuff, someone who knows alot about camera lenses could probably explain it. It looks cool though.

Tom said: already has tons of photos for every building in New York city

@Johnathan, thanks for the starting link. I turned left and traveled to the corner of Alta Av, turned around and saw...

@Kevin, I agree about the license plates. DHL truck at the corner plate# 7ED6977 or 7E06977.

Funny, as you approach the corner you see the truck moving away from you, obviously moving backwards in time as the camera car approached the intersection?, and then it's gone as a different angle was used earlier (or later) in the day from the other side of the street.

@Johnathan, thanks for the starting link. I turned left and traveled to the corner of Alta Av, turned around and saw...

@Kevin, I agree about the license plates. DHL truck at the corner plate# 7ED6977 or 7E06977.

Funny, as you approach the corner you see the truck moving away from you, obviously moving backwards in time as the camera car approached the intersection?, and then it's gone as a different angle was used earlier (or later) in the day from the other side of the street.

DonkeyKong said:

Works in Denver.

John said:

Check out
make sure you have Quick Time 7 installed
and then click on their USA Demo done in warren Michigan.

John said:

Go to:
Make sure you have Quick Time 7
then play back their Warren Michigan Demo
Google you're in trouble, he, he, and you Microsoft better start thinking outside the box.

Hongkong said:

Wow, It's working and really amazing! What will Google launch next???

GeoTrotter said:

I added here the best Google Street View.

Byron said:

There is a big list of Street Views listed here

Rick said:

Handy link to Street View demo

rick said:

Google is so 20th is the real 21st century.

3 years from now.....
Everyone will be walking down the street with their miniature, Bluetooth camera lens embedded in their clothing (front and rear), which streams everything it/you see to your WiFi cell phone.
Your WiFi cell phone will store everything on its 1 terabyte hard drive while at the same time streaming this video you see via WiFi to a “tracker network”. The tracker network is a social group of similar people ( by geographical area,interest..etc),numbering from 2 or 3 to tens of thousands in size. All of these tracker networks will include retail facial recognition software that will be 10 times more powerful than anything currently available.
The TrackerNetwork facial software works by taking every face that is inputted into its database and giving it a unique number.
Then the face is identified in two ways.
1. The TrackerNetwork facial software has so many thousands of “hits” on any face over a period of day/weeks it identifies where this person starts his/her day, works, shops etc. It does this all automatically without knowing who the person is.
2. People who belong to the TrackerNetwork input faces and identify them by name.

With the above two, anyone belonging to the TrackerNetwork can track just about anyone by belonging to a network from that city. Just input the name ( or unique ID the TrackerNetwork software assigns to an individual) and the software will either allow you to watch them live or can show you history from as far back as recorded on that individual.

The upside:
Modern Neighbor Hood Watch: Hit and run? captured on numerous cell phones, instantly uploaded to a tracker network and within seconds the car and driver are identified and sent to the police.

You are walking down the street, a drug addict asks you for money and when you refuse, he starts to get violent. Picked up by someone watching from a store, driving by in a car and from the person waiting for the bus ½ a block away. Instantly sent to a tracker network.

The downside:
Anyone can track anyone all the time! You can track: politicians, celebrities, neighbors, spouse......etc.

Rovin said:

Wow it's really surprised

Carsten said:

For some Chinese cities, the Website City8 easily trumps Google Map Streeview. Go and take a look: full 360 degree view, an incredible high resolution through ALL streets of Shanghai. The link above puts you at People's Square.
Be sure to double click on the photo for full-screen view. It will blow you away! Rotate, look up&down. Walking is a bit confusing in the beginning. No need to take panorama pictures anymore...

Streetviewr said:

Using a slightly modified version of the Web service that Greg mentioned, I I added a link to each of the Street Views that displays an inline version on my site - works like a charm and much quicker than going to Google.

This is similar to a project I completed two years ago.
Drive Project.
It could have been as cool as Google if I had the team and budget.
You can see New Orleans from one perspective. Drive Project: New Orleans.
The other odd connection is that the Cobalt is built in my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.
Wierd. I think I will contact google with a few questions.

it is cool, i hope that come in europe :)

Won Seoul said:

This is so cool. Dragging the witch to the street you want to see.. I just checked Miami where I live..

Travis said:

that is so amazing.. the mapping services we have now days are amazing. the problem for small companies trying to do this: storing all the data.

dan said:

that image makes me want to go to vegas so bad. you know google streets is huge when they show up in tucson, arizona.

jason said:

hey people where do we download this thing i really need it because i am trck driver and i cant memorize the truck routes...

Boner said:

So far, the street side view is only available in USA.

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