Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Google Is On The Street

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I could probably come up with some flimsy rationalization about how this post is dripping with insight into software architecture and how if you study it carefully and pay close attention, the secrets to unencumbered enterprise delivery will be unlocked.

But, I won't.

I'm just having fun with a recent addition to Google Maps that I stumbled into tonight. Turns out Maps has added "Street Views", a feature that allows you to view photographic representations of locations visited on the map. As of tonight, views are available for Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.

Click on the "Street View" button next to "Traffic", "Map", "Hybrid", etc, and a new blue outline appears on the streets where "Street View" is available. Click anywhere on an outlined street, and an icon is positioned at that spot on the map. A green arrow of sorts shows you the direction you're facing. For your viewing enjoyment, a widget pops up and shows a wide-angle image of the immediate area. Want to take in all the sights? Simply click and drag the image to rotate a full 360 degrees. Want to meander up and down the street? No problem. Just click the overlaid directional arrows.

Look really close, and you may find someone you know. I'm pretty sure I found a coworker in this picture of Times Square... Hey! I thought he was out sick today?!?

Of course, Google claims to take the potential privacy consideration very seriously. A link within the help screens for "Street View" encourages reporting images that are a "security" or "privacy" concern, along with those that may be inappropriate.

This could be cool. Suppose these images will be extensible? Available via the Google API? How about interactive images where useful info would pop up when you hover over certain properties in the image? For example, maybe a phone number and a coupon would be revealed when you hover over the Paris hotel in Vegas? What ideas can we come up with?

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