What you need to know
- Google previews its new Street View camera for Google Maps which it hopes to launch next year.
- Google Maps for mobile devices gets a new historical view to glance back in time.
- Users can celebrate the 15th anniversary of Street View by changing their navigation icon in Google Maps.
Street View is a neat tool in Google Maps that helps users gain more context about locations, and the feature is turning 15 years old. To celebrate, Google is giving us a preview of its new Street View camera and launching a new feature for Android and iOS devices.
Google's new Street View camera is much smaller than the large rigs you see outfitted on its fleet of cars today. Google says it has taken all the power and capabilities of the current rig and shrunk them down to a cute little robot "roughly the size of a house cat." It's much smaller and lighter, weighing about 15 pounds, and therefore can be taken to more places.
The new camera system is modular, allowing Google to outfit it with various components when necessary. It can also attach to any car without any specialized equipment. Google hopes to fully roll out the camera next year, where it will capture images in areas like mountain tops and remote islands.
Google is also rolling out a new historical view for mobile devices. Now, users on the best Android phones can take a look back in time to see how an area has changed. To access it, tap onto an image of a location while in Street View to pull up more details. Tap "See more dates" to view a collection of images as far back as 2007.
The new feature should be available globally on mobile devices starting today.
Lastly, Google Maps is switching up some icons, such as the navigation icon on mobile, which users can switch to a celebratory Street View car. The Street View Pegman on desktop Maps will also be decked out in celebration attire.
Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.
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