Less than two years ago, people began to see cars equipped with strange video equipment driving all over the U.S. Google apparently commissioned a fleet of cars for their street view project, which is now live. I decided to give it “test drive” to see what the hype was all about. It turns out that street view gives you just that. A view of the streets from a drivers perspective. I tested it on my street and found it cool, yet creepy. I’m not suggesting in any way that Google has voyeuristic tendencies, but they can get pretty detailed. I was able to see my roommate’s Marilyn Monroe poster on his window. Then I started thinking; there must be hundreds of little surprises waiting to be discovered in the Google street view video universe. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or the desire to look for them, but if you do find something, let me know.
Voyeurs are not the only who may find this tool useful. This is another great way to explore your city or town without having to put on your shoes. Street view has the potential to revolutionize the real estate industry. I remember a when virtual tours of homes were new and exciting. Now you can check out the neighborhood before you make a formal visit. The technology is still in the early stages but as it develops, I could see existing virtual stores being linked into the equation. I wrote a paper a few years ago about a concept called “Google Maps Retail.” This concept allows people find businesses on Google maps, get directions and then get efficient directions inside the store (using a 3-D planogram) based on a shopping list. This is more than possible now. Who wants to go halves with me on the venture. I’ll put in the first 20 bucks.