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Google Street View Steps Inside

May 21, 2011 | William Zimmerman
google street view steps inside.jpg
Google will let users check out a restaurant's décor without leaving their computer

Monday, May 9, 2011
By Tom Simonite, via MIT's Technology Review

Since 2007, Google's Street View service has provided interactive panoramic photos that make it possible to virtually stroll down streets all over the globe. Within the next two days, Street View users will be able to click on the doorways of some restaurants and other businesses to take the experience indoors.

At the Social Loco conference in San Francisco last week, Google vice president Marissa Mayer, who leads the company's location-based technologies, showed how the new indoor imagery will be integrated with Street View. A person can click on the doorway of a store or other location to "step inside."

"This allows you to explore and discover new businesses," she said. "It changes how much you can interact with a business online." A Google spokesperson told Technology Review that thousands of interiors will become available early this week.

The panoramas are captured using the same kind of techniques used to capture street views from the roof of a moving car. A device containing multiple cameras collects many partially overlapping photographs that are later stitched together into a spherical panorama of everything visible from the point at which they were taken. Panoramas can be spun around and zoomed in on by clicking and dragging. It's also possible to jump between different panoramas inside a space to, for example, see different rooms in a restaurant.







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