Google says a new camera will improve both the quality and scope of its Street View images. It’s also adding the “historical” mode to the mobile app version.
The company is promoting both changes as a way to mark the 15th anniversary of Street View’s launch.
The new camera weighs less than 15 pounds and, in Google’s unusual unit of measurement, is “roughly the size of a house cat”. Google says it offers three main benefits:
- It’s easy to retrofit onto ordinary cars rather than needing custom vehicles.
- It’s much more viable to use off-road, for example on a boat or snowmobile.
- It’s modular, making it easy to add features such as laser scanners to pick up detail such as potholes.
The other change is to the historical mode, which was previously only available on the website version of Street View. Mobile app users will now be able to tap on any image and then select a “See more dates” option to access all previous imagery from that location.
The idea is to show changes such as buildings being constructed or removed. Having it on mobile should make it more convenient to satisfy curiosity when out and about, for example trying to figure out when something was built or challenging a claim to remember when “this was all fields.”