It’s not just Hollywood that seems obsessed with 3D technology lately. It’s also video game makers Sony and Microsoft, who have both talked up their forthcoming 3D gaming strategies, as well as flat-panel makers like Samsung, Sony and Vizio, who are poised to flood the market with 3D-capable TV’s as soon as this summer. And now, Google is getting in on this much-hyped technology.
Despite criticisms of 3D as yet another cheap marketing gimmick, it seems a veritable wave of 3D products and content are poised to crash down on us consumers like it or not, and Google is getting their feet wet with a shiny new 3D feature of their Google Street View. Available via Google Maps, zoom into a particular location and you are likely to find a “street view” which allows you to tilt and pan your way around a photographic representation of the neighborhood you are exploring.
Launched recently and without much fan-fare, Google’s street view now features a new icon of a little guy wearing the iconic green and red 3D glasses. Known internally to Google as the “Pegman,” click that little guy and he’ll transform your standard street view into a fully stereoscopic image of the neighborhood. Pardon me, while I go find my 3D glasses. If you’ve got your glasses strapped on as well, check out the 3D screenshot of the Arclight Theater in L.A. after the jump.
Google launched their Street View feature in May of 2007 and at the time, coverage was limited to just five U.S. cities. Coverage has expanded considerably since then, and it’s often surprising not to find a street view option available for particular locations these days.
Google collects these images using special cameras and equipment that capture and match images to a specific location using GPS devices. Once the images are captured, they are “sewn” together to create a 360° panorama. Once sewn together, Google’s street view offers 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic street level views. Fortunately for our privacy, faces and license plates are blurred before the panorama images are served and become viewable in Google Maps.
For a behind-the-scenes look at how Google Street View works its magic, hit the official Google Maps page for a more in-depth explanation of the tech that makes street view work.