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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] Google Turns Street View Into a Time Machine

    Having taken pictures of more than 6 million miles’ worth of road, today Google is more than doubling the amount of global Street View imagery by adding all of its archive photography.

    The company’s Google Maps web application will now include a time machine feature where users can move a slider to see all historical images of a place. As much as possible, pictures of the same place have been aligned so they have the same perspective as one another.

    In some cases, locations will have just a couple of versions of photos; in others, Google Street View cars have driven the same roads every summer for eight years.

    That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to move the slider back and forth to see historical images of Rome compared to the present day ruins — Street View imagery only goes back eight years, at most.

    But it does mean you’ll be able to play with some recent history, like the building of the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan, the building of the 2014 World Cup stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil, and the destruction left by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Onagawa, Japan.

    You might also scan around to see how billboards and gas prices change, or what a place looks like in different seasons (though Street View cars mostly hit the road when it’s nice out).

    In the case of that view in Onagawa — according to Google director of engineering Luc Vincent, the guy behind the Street View project — you can actually see, because the GPS coordinates are locked, that the ground shifted three meters in the earthquake. It’s pretty insane.

    “It’s a 3-D mirror of the world,” Vincent said of Street View. “Now with this, we’re finally adding the fourth dimension, time.”

    Archive Street View will be available in 55 countries, except where it isn’t allowed, like in Germany, which only permits Google to post single images of 20 cities. There’s also no historical imagery of places like the Great Barrier Reef, which Google has only documented with underwater photography once.

    The archive images will, for now, only be available in the Web version of Google Maps. Mobile support — which would be neat, because you could stand in a place yourself and look at it through time — will come later, Vincent said.

    And actually, even with all the archival pictures added back in, there’s still tons of Street View footage left on the cutting room floor, which Google’s algorithms discarded as they pared down and snapped together the panoramas that make up the product. Before new Street View pics are posted, a process selects images that show the middle of intersections and head-on views of of landmarks, Vincent said. It also scrubs out faces and car license plates.

    Historical imagery was one of Google Maps most-requested features for years, according to Vincent. “The hard part of this is the data and infrastructure,” he said. “We just hadn’t gotten around to it.”

    In case the feature isn’t live for all users yet (it’s not for me), here’s a gallery of before-and-after comparisons that Google spliced:

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Google Maps ‘Time Machine’ Lets You Stroll the Streets of the Past

    By Nathan Olivarez-Giles

    Ever wish you could travel back in time? A new feature on Google Maps Street View, rolling out world-wide today, lets users zip through imagery dating back to Street View’s beginning in 2007. The update also lets you view Street View in different seasons, and during the night as well.

    “For the longest time we’ve had Street View users asking that we either preserve the imagery we had or that we give them the ability to go back in time and look at imagery the way it was before,” said Luc Vincent, the Google Maps Street View director of engineering. Users want to see how their old neighborhood looked years ago, the building of iconic landmarks, or cities before and after natural disasters.

    The destruction in Japan caused by the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami can be seen in this photo using Street View’s time machine feature.Google Inc.

    “We like to think we were building a 3-D image of the world, and now the mirror is actually 4-D,” he said. “You can go back in time (aka, the fourth dimension), look at things the way they were, and sort of get lost in exploration.”

    If you see an hourglass in the upper left corner of a Street View panorama, that means there is past imagery you can peruse. Just click the hourglass and a thumbnail of past images will appear. A timeline in the thumbnail allows you to move through history. When you see the period you want to explore, click it and the whole Street View will change. At that point, you have traveled through time, and can wander around in the past as you would in the current version.

    Before this massive update, about 6 million miles worth of Street View imagery was available. As of today, including the time machine feature, you can find about 12 million miles worth of sidewalk-level, interactive photos to explore.

    The time machine will be available in almost every location where Street View is in operation. For major metro areas, there will be 20 or more “time slices” to check out, while for most locations, there will be two or three, Vincent said.

    The construction of the Freedom Tower in New York City can be viewed in the Google Maps Street View’s new time machine feature.Google Inc.

    “What we’ve done before now was give users the freshest imagery, because that’s typically what’s most useful to them,” he said. “And from now on, every time we add imagery, it will be with a time machine layer—it will be enabling this going-back-in-time feature.”

    For now, Street View’s time machine feature is only available on the desktop, but Vincent said he’d like to see it eventually offered on mobile as well.

    The hope, he said, is that users will find the old Street View maps just as useful as the new photos. “This is something educators and scientists could use,” Vincent said. “We want this to be a resource for the world. That’s why we were intent on launching it worldwide all at once.”
    Última edição por 5ms; 23-04-2014 às 13:19.

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