3 Web apps that make Google Street View seem amazing again
There are plenty of creative uses of Google Street View, the famous mapping function that gives 360-degree street-level imagery of locations worldwide and which added 250,000 miles of panoramic imagery last month.
Instant Google Street View is a dead-simple concept that’s well executed. Type a destination’s name into the search box, and you’ll see an image of the location much faster than using Street View itself.
As you type, the site autosuggests destinations, so you’ll often see a different image for each keystroke if you slow down your typing.
Some of the results are surprising. Type in “the white house” or “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” and you’re teleported to an inside view of the US President’s residence. Try “golden gate bridge” or “Japan, Hiroshima Prefecture, Hatsukaichi, Miyajimacho.”
Admittedly the only practical usefulness that first appears is that you can download any of the images in a way that’s much faster than Street View’s own interface. But don’t spoil the fun.
Interactivity + social = marketing
Issey Miyake Parfums, the perfume brand associated with fashion designer Issey Miyake, has released a creative use of Google Street View.
It’s Please the World Web application invites users can type in a message and see it be dramatically written in a wash of colorful paint by a dancer — letter by letter. You can then choose a location, via Google Street View, and overlay the text on the street scene with a click.
In a nice touch, the words hanging in the air are given drop shadows on the street. (How do they do that?)
The message can then be shared vis social networks, of course.
The third clever use of Street View (and Google Earth) is Issey Miyake Parfums’s Escape Web app.
Blow into your computer’s microphone, and a realistic animation of a balloon will inflate and then rise up through the atmosphere. The app uses the geo-location coordinates from your Web browser to display relevant images of your locality while your balloon rises into the atmosphere.
Pretty neat! Feel free to share other creative uses of Street View in the comments.
Sean O’Neill is a New Jersey-based reporter for Tnooz. He is also a daily contributor of consumer news to LonelyPlanet.com.
He used to work for BBC Travel, BudgetTravel.com, and Kiplinger's, and used to live in London, New York City, and Washington, DC.