Google Maps’ Street View is getting a range of new features, marking the immersive view’s 15th year in existence since being introduced in 2007.
“Street View began as a far-fetched idea from Google co-founder Larry Page to build a 360-degree map of the entire world. Fast forward to today: There are now over 220 billion Street View images from over 100 countries and territories,” according to the blog post.
Today, Google is deploying a new Street View camera, bolstering the team currently comprised of the Street View Car and Street View Trekker.
Google’s new camera “takes all the power, resolution and processing capabilities that we’ve [Google] built into an entire Street View car, and shrinks it down into an ultra-transportable camera system that’s roughly the size of a house cat.”
The camera weighs less than 15lb (6.8kg) and is fully customizable with components like LiDar and laser scanners. Additionally, Google says that the new camera can be attached on top of any vehicle with a roof rack and can be operated from a smartphone, making the image-collection process easier for Google’s partners, especially in areas that haven’t been mapped significantly.
The new camera is expected to be spotted on roads next year.
Additionally, the Street View feature will now let you travel back in time. Well, not really, but the feature will let you see how specific streets, monuments or areas of interest have changed over the years. The feature has always been available on Maps for Desktop but is now arriving on Google Maps for Android and iOS, and lets you check imagery of said places dating back to 2007.
To access the new feature, go into Street View of a location you want to explore and scroll up to reveal “Nearby photos.” You can then find photos of the place dating back to 2007, though in the case of some famous Canadian spots, I could only go as far back as three to four years.
Google also revealed some of the most iconic tourist attractions that garner the most clicks on Street View, including Miss Piggy plane wreck in Churchill, MB, CN Tower in Toronto, ON, and the Horseshoe falls in Niagara Falls, ON, whereas some top-clicked points of interest in Canada for art, history and culture were Casa Loma in Toronto, ON, Aga Khan Museum in North York, ON and Green Gables Heritage Place in Cavendish, PE.
Learn more about the upgrades coming to Street View and Google Maps over the coming months here.