Google has updated its Street View app on Android and has added a new ability that lets anyone collect Street View imagery and publish it on Google Maps. Until now, the street view imagery on Google Maps used to be captured by ‘special’ Street View cars. But now, with this major update to the Street View app on Android, you can capture and record a series of images with your phones as you move down a street or path, all thanks to the new connected photos tool in the app. All that you need to do then is publish these images via the Street View app.
Google uses ARCore, the augmented reality technology, to capture these series of images. After a user publishes them via the Street View app, Google automatically rotates, positions, and creates a series of connected photos. The Google AI then places those connected images in the exact location where the user took these images. This feature will be a big enhancement to Google Maps as now anyone can contribute and share their world. Earlier, users needed to have special 360-degree cameras to capture and publish Street View imagery.
New Street View App Feature Benefits and Availability
With the addition of this new ability to create own Street View Photos, Google aims to bring better maps to more people around the world. The tech giant wants to cover and capture places that aren’t currently on Maps or that have seen rapid change, all with a regular smartphone.
“While our own Street View trekkers and cars have collected more than 170 billion images from 10 million miles around the planet, there are still many unmapped parts of the world,” said Google through a blog post. “That’s why for years we’ve been building new ways for people to contribute their imagery to Google Maps,” it said further.
When people publish connected photos, they will appear in the Street View layer on Maps as dotted blue lines. However, Google says that if there is an existing Google Street View imagery, it will show up as the primary Street View experience with a solid blue line. Also, note that this is still a beta feature, and the company is constantly working to improve it.
This feature is currently available for people using the Street View app with an ARCore-compatible Android device in select cities and countries. These include Toronto, Canada, New York, NY, and Austin, TX, along with Indonesia, Nigeria, and Costa Rica. The company says that it’ll launch the feature in more regions soon.