Google has announced that they will allow users with compatible smartphones to contribute to Google Maps Street View photos, without using special equipment.
To provide us with the images for Google Street View, the company travels the streets around the world with its cars and other vehicles specially equipped with 360-degree cameras. After capturing the photographs, the Street View engineering team selects the ones that are most appropriate, aligns and adjusts them by applying special algorithms, creating 3D models that perfectly match what we see on the map.
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Google also works with external partners, but so far they needed a camera that is compatible to be able to perform this task. This will change from now on: Google has announced that anyone will be able to contribute to Google Maps Street View by using only their smartphone. Google has updated the Street View app for Android so it will be easier than ever to collect images and place them in the right place on Google Maps.
Users with mobiles that support ARCore, Google’s augmented reality platform, will be able to make use of the new connected photo tool, which has arrived with the latest update of the Street View application. This tool will allow the smartphone to record a series of connected images as the user walks down a street or path, which will then be placed in the correct location on Google Maps.
The aim of this new tool is to extend and improve Street View. With the collaboration of users, Google can include images of places that their own computers have not been able to reach, as well as offer updated images of areas that have changed a lot quickly.
Even though Google’s cars have collected over 170 billion images from around the globe, there are still many parts of the world that have not been mapped. Through this new avenue of collaboration, Street View will be able to receive important updated content much more quickly.
At the moment, the new Google Maps Street View tool is still in beta and is available in Toronto (Canada), New York and Austin (United States), Nigeria, Indonesia, and Costa Rica. The company promises that it will be available soon in other territories as well.