How To Use Google Street View


With all of the technology available today and the rapid advancements that inevitably follow every day, it can be challenging to keep up with how to use everything. Perhaps the most essential of these modern systems is the Google Maps system and, by extension, Google Street View.

What Is Google Street View?

Google Maps gives users the ability to navigate the world through a system of interactive maps, and that ability goes one step further with Google Street View. Using Google Street View, users can literally walk the streets of the areas they choose to view and step inside of restaurants, stores, offices, and other places of interest.

The images that make up the virtual landscape of Google Street View are provided by both everyday users and Google’s paid staff. Some businesses and other entities pay for professional photography by Google’s trusted pros program.

Once you become familiar with its implementation, Google Street View is a fun and easy way to explore the world and review businesses before making the trip there yourself. While using Google Street View differs slightly between the many platforms it is available for, we have step-by-step instructions for every central platform listed below.

iPhone and iPad

Viewing Street View photos is effortless with iPhone and iPad, and it works hand-in-hand with Google Maps to create a seamless user experience.

  1. Start by opening the Google Maps app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Choose any location in the world by dropping a pin or tapping on a registered location marker. You can drop a pin by touching a place on the map and holding your finger in that position.
  3. Tap the name of the place or the address, depending on whether you dropped a pin or not, located at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Select the photo labeled “Street View” after scrolling down to the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you can tap the thumbnail that pops up, which should show a Street View icon 360 photo.
  5. When you’ve finished exploring, move to the top left corner of the screen and then tap the back button twice.

Navigating Street View on Mobile

  • You can explore Street View by dragging your finger around the screen or by tapping the compass.
  • Move around by swiping left or right or by swiping up or down on the blue line.
  • You can enable a broader view by changing your device to landscape mode and turning it sideways.

You can zoom in by making a pinching open motion on the screen. Conversely, you can zoom out by pinching your fingers together on the screen.

Android

Just like other mobile devices, Android phones will work seamlessly with Google Maps to allow you to access Street View in any location in the world.

  • Start by opening the Google Maps app on your Android Device.
  • Choose any location in the world by dropping a pin or tapping on a registered place marker. You can drop a pin by touching a spot on the map with your finger and holding it in that position.
  • Tap the name of the place or the address, depending on whether you dropped a pin or not, located at the bottom of the screen.
  • Select the photo labeled “Street View” after scrolling down to the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you can tap the thumbnail that pops up, which should show a Street View icon 360 photo.
  • When you’ve finished exploring, move to the top left corner of the screen and then tap the back button twice.

Computer

There are three different ways to access Google Street View from a computer. Each method is functionally the same, and it depends primarily on how you bring up the information.

Using Google Maps

  1. 1Open the Google Maps website through your choice of web browser.
  2. Use the search bar or click on a marker on the map to select a location.
  3. On the left side of the screen, choose a photo that has an icon signifying Street View.
  4. When you’ve finished exploring, close the tab or press back.

Using the Human Icon

  1. Open the Google Maps website through your choice of web browser.
  2. Click and hold on the human icon in the bottom right corner of the screen and then drag them to the location you want to visit.
  3. Release your click on top of a place on the map marked by a blue dot, blue line, or orange dot.
  4. When you’re done with your journey, press the back button in the top left or lose your web browser.

Use Google Search

  1. 1Open the Google search website.
  2. You can then search for any place or address that you would like.
  3. Select the photo with the label “See outside.”

Navigating Street View on Computer

  • You can move around by hovering your cursor over the direction you want to visit, which then turns your cursor into an arrow that visualizes the direction you’re traveling.
  • To check your following location, look for the X.
  • Click and drag your mouse around to look around.
  • You can zoom in or out by scrolling with your mouse wheel or trackpad. The + and – underneath the compass work as well.
  • You can position your Street View to the north by clicking the compass in the bottom right.
  • The “Back to Map” window in the bottom left allows you to move around the map and then select any location within the blue highlighted spots.

How Does Google Capture Street View Data?

One of the most incredible aspects of Google Street View is the ubiquity with which it is present. A tremendous number of countries worldwide, spanning every continent on the planet, have some degree of Street View information. However, the ease with which you can go to nearly any place on Earth and see close-up photos of homes and businesses can feel a little unnerving, so how do they do it?

The primary method that Google uses to capture Street View information is with their Google Street View cars. On May 25, 2007, these vehicles debuted when Google launched Street View in several major United States cities that included New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Denver, and Miami. The chances are that you may have seen one of these cars driving around over the years, as they are pretty easy to spot thanks to the camera system mounted on the vehicle roofs.

The Street View cars work by being driven throughout cities, rural areas, and everything in between, capturing photos as they go. The cameras mounted on top of these vehicles are incredibly high resolution and powerful. Once the images have been taken, they go through a computer processing system that links the photos together to create the seamless 360-degree photos that show up on Google Street View.

Street View Cameras

It is interesting to note that in 2007 when this technology debuted, the cameras were only capable of taking 2.8-megapixel photos, which modern smartphones easily surpass. For context, the first iPhone was released only a month after Street View, which indicates the level of technology readily available at the time.

The systems that Google has implemented have driven this technology, and seven years after they debuted Street View, 360-degree cameras became more readily available, and cameras like the Ricoh Theta m15 allowed this technology to enter the consumer market.

As time has passed and camera equipment has continued to develop, Street View cameras have evolved and continued to grow. While there are still many Google Street View cars out on the roads capturing imagery, these cameras have made their way onto other platforms like the Street View Trike and Snowmobile, as well as backpack-mounted cameras to allow people on foot to capture Street View data.

Everyone Can Be A Contributor

Google has stated that they would like to map out as much of the world as possible, but they cannot capture the entire globe themselves. This limitation is why they encourage contributions from other people to update Street View data and capture new images as well.

Some remote locations or countries that are too small to have their own dedicated Google Street View cars receive most of their information from volunteers mapping out entire cities on their own. Places like Tonga, Bermuda, and Zimbabwe have all been explored entirely by volunteer photographers.

The addition of the alternate vehicles and camera mounting options listed above is a large part of why Google has managed to capture many locations worldwide. However, some places like Germany have stringent privacy laws that inhibit Google from publishing many Street View photos.

Take a look at the map listed below to see how Google has expanded its coverage of the planet. While there are many countries and parts of the world that remain uncaptured, as Google continues to grow, it is only a matter of time before you can navigate the entire globe from the comfort of your chair.

google-maps-worldwide-coverage

That’s a Wrap on Maps

Use this guide whenever you need a refresher on all of the details for traveling throughout Google Street View. Get out there and start exploring!