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Street View goes user-generated

Street View goes user-generated

The new User Images overlay on Street View allows third parties to upload their own photographs and place them within the 3D space.

Google has launched its first user-generated version of Street View, which maps geolocated images in a 3D space and allows for virtual walk-throughs with impressive imagery.

As reported over on GigaOM,the new layer allows users to upload two-dimensional photographs and place them within a three-dimensional space - creating a 3D panorama of the area with far higher resolution and quality than that available from the standard Street View service.

The idea isn't new: back in 2006 Microsoft unveiled its Silverlight-based 2D-to-3D photo manipulation system Photosynth, which works in much the same way: taking images uploaded by individuals and placing them within a collaborative space to create a fully immersive - if slightly herky-jerky - 3D panorama.

Unlike Photosynth, however, Google's version is platform dependent - using Adobe's Flash, it allows pretty much any system to contribute to and browse the collection of geolocated images.

The service is live right now, although you'll only see it in areas which have images uploaded. One such location is the Plaza Orologio in Prague: by choosing the User Images icon in the top-right corner, the uploaded pictures will appear. While the effect isn't completely smooth - with images not quite lining up due to the different lenses in use, and each image taken at different times of day and in different weather - it's a neat effect, and certainly improves on the image quality provided by the standard Street View.

While the service is entirely user driven, with Google merely providing the tools to place the images on an overlay on top of its existing Street View imagery, the boost in quality is unlikely to please privacy campaigners - especially as unlike Street View individuals' faces are not blurred, with each photograph being provided exactly as the individual photographer uploaded it.

Do you see the feature as offering a fascinating glimpse into places you're unlikely to ever go, or are you concerned about the privacy implications of using high-quality un-redacted imagery such as this? Let us know in the forums.

12 Comments

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liratheal 1st March 2010, 14:13 Quote
I.. I must take part.
lacuna 1st March 2010, 14:20 Quote
I must find these privacy campaigners and take photos of them
yakyb 1st March 2010, 14:24 Quote
opportunities for lightsaber fights in the middle of town are available
mi1ez 1st March 2010, 14:34 Quote
so much potential for both good, and evil...
MitchBomcanhao 1st March 2010, 15:40 Quote
i think the microsoft maps in street view already have a feature like that (photos embedded with the streetview camera footage), but it may just be a tech preview.
<A88> 1st March 2010, 18:31 Quote
http://www.ted.com/talks/blaise_aguera.html
I dare say a far better mapping technology.
Neophyte4Life 1st March 2010, 18:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
opportunities for lightsaber fights in the middle of town are available

name the time and place an i shall partake
Lukna 1st March 2010, 19:21 Quote
Plaza Orologio lol
more like Staromestske Namesti
docodine 1st March 2010, 20:11 Quote
They won't ever have to blur out faces here right? It's the same idea as someone publishing street photography probably.
thehippoz 1st March 2010, 22:16 Quote
you look at that plaza pic- couple blurred faces.. the quality is really good
Gunsmith 1st March 2010, 22:21 Quote
"yeah our company house is on the corner of goatse and lolcat"
talladega 1st March 2010, 22:32 Quote
i just saw my small little town is on street view now. time to take pics? :)
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