Fear and Excitement as Google’s ‘Street View’ Hits Bremerton

Poulsbo veteran cop Nick Hoke called me this past week with news of yet another fascinating project from the techie wizards at Google.

Hoke hopes this project will give him a chance to don a Sasquatch suit, but we’ll get to that later.

A Google Street View car (PHOTO BY GOOGLE)

The Google development is a takeoff of the company’s wildly popular maps and is called “Street View.” It crept onto the shores of the Kitsap Peninsula Nov. 4 to little fanfare.

Many of us have zoomed in on our searches on Google’s satellite maps as close as we possibly can. But at some point, there’s just no getting down on the ground to look around — without actually being there.

Until now.

“Street View,” allows you to do just that. You can literally “drive” down any street, and turn 360 degrees to get a panoramic view on the ground.

How did Google make this happen? Three simple ingredients: a car, a camera mounted atop it, and a contracted driver, legions of which were willing to journey the country to compile such a database.

Only two weeks ago, much of the Seattle area was “mapped” and debuted online. They don’t have all the nooks and crannies of Kitsap, but most of the City of Bremerton and parts of Port Orchard have been mapped, meaning you can virtually peruse the streets from your computer screen.

Hoke had called to say that, alas, Poulsbo is not yet included in the project. But he wanted to know when Little Norway would get its chance. When it does, he’d like to be ready, he said, sporting a Sasquatch suit for a little Internet fame.

Hoke isn’t alone. Associated Press reporter Dan Nephin wrote a story last week about some Pittsburg residents having some fun with the Google cameras, including, Nehphin says:

  • Two 17th century swordsmen doing battle;
  • An escape from a building using knotted sheets;
  • A laser zapping a Steelers fan and a Cleveland Browns fan, rendering them love-struck and about to embrace.

There’s even a web site set up for people to send in eye-catching images caught by Google’s cameras.

So when will Hoke get his own chance?

“We don’t have specific plans to share about future updates to Street View,” says Elaine Filadelfo, a spokeswoman for the Mountain View-based company said. “But we do continue to gather imagery around the country on an ongoing basis.”

So there you have it. Filadelfo also offers useful tips on using “Street View” to find downtown parking or seek out bike racks.

But I’m also curious to see how residents around here will react to such voyeuristic views of our local streets. I’ll pose this question: is having the opportunity to cruise roads around the world worth having your own home for all of said world to see?

5 thoughts on “Fear and Excitement as Google’s ‘Street View’ Hits Bremerton

  1. I like the Street View feature! The Perry Avenue shopping area looks just the way it did the last time that I drove in there.

    Sharon,
    I suppose the robbers might be more likely just to drive around and look for open garage doors and such, rather than relying on a photo that might be months old.

    I’m looking forward to seeing Poulsbo and Silverdale photos soon.

  2. I was in Spokane last week (home now) and got a text message from Apple saying there was a software update available for my iPhone. One of the updates was the ability to use this Google feature.

    It is REALLY cool!

    Have you ever been in a big city and wondered where you “really” were? Sure, there are street signs, but if you can navigate strange cities solely by street signs, you are smarter than me. A few weeks ago I was in Seattle looking for 600 University Place. Good luck with that if you have never been there. 😉 I passed it at least six times because it is smack dab in the middle of the 1300 or 1400 block of something or other downtown.

    But this new feature of Google is REALLY cool! I played with it in Spokane and it was nice to be “oriented” instantly! I can hardly wait to use it in DC in a couple of months.

    Technology can be used for evil. But we can’t stop advances just because we fear how people might use it.

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  3. Advances will never be stopped…that is the human condition in its (usually) finest sense. I’ll just move my weedy garbage can.

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