I’m a big fan of Google. Beyond search, they have created some of the most amazing and useful internet based programs you can find today. One of my absolute favorites is Google Street View and for real estate agents and brokers it’s very useful.
Google Street View is one of the many features of Google Maps and Google Earth. It was launched way back in May of ’07. Street View gives you the ability to view 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic street-level views. It also lets you look at specific areas of cities and their surrounding metro areas. So, if you are interested in taking a look at a particular piece of property and the surrounding neighborhood you can go to maps.google.com, enter the street address and if the area is covered by the service you’ll be able to see it almost as if you were standing there.
The first time I saw this I was really blown away. One of the first questions that came to my mind was “how did they do this?”. I immediately searched Google for the answer and here it is quoted from Wikipedia:
“Google Street View displays photos taken from cameras mounted on a fleet of cars and placed in ‘image orbs’ within Google’s maps, displayed against the backdrop of images previously taken from satellite that make up Google’s maps. These “image orbs” can be navigated using either the arrow keys on the keyboard or by using a mouse to click on arrows displayed on the screen. Using these devices, the photos can be viewed in different sizes, from any direction, and from a variety of angles. Lines that are displayed along the street that is shown indicate the direction followed by that street view camera car.”
So Google has fleets of cars with 360° cameras mounted on top and they basically drive down every street in town taking pictures and send those images back to the Google mother ship. Quite an undertaking! When Google first launched Street View in ’07 they only covered 5 cities. Today they cover approximately 75 cities. Eventually they’ll have the whole country covered. And of course they are providing the same service in over 20 other countries so far. If your area is not yet covered, chances are it will be soon.
What will they think of next?
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About David Goldstein — David Goldstein is an Owner and Founding Partner of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.