Google has spent a lot of time and human hours mapping some of the more remote areas of the globe with its Trekker program, and now users have a chance to go behind the scenes and learn more about both those places and the process. Google put up a new Behind The Scenes site for the Treks Street View project, complete with video, amazing images, maps and audio and visual tours.
Besides being an awesome time-killer for when you have some hours to spare, the Trek microsites give Google a way to show off a number of its products all in one place. It combines YouTube, Maps, Maps tours, HTML5 web technologies, slideshows and more, which also has the benefit of revealing some of the greater potential of Chrome as a browser.
Currently, the Street View Treks microsites cover the Burj Khalifa, Iqaluit, Mt. Everest, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon Basin and the Kennedy Space Center. Additional tours for the Galapagos Islands and Venice are said to be “coming soon” by Google, too.
Remember that Google is looking for organizations to help out with the Google Trekker program, so your views could be among the next featured on these microsites. Sometimes it may be tempting to question the utility of Google’s more ambitious initiatives, but as these microsites show, they sure can paint a pretty picture.
Google today introduced 360-degree Street View imagery of all of the main floors of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. A few weeks ago, Google introduced Street View imagery for the world’s largest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, so adding this kind of imagery isn’t exactly new anymore. What’s different this time around, however, is that the Google Cultural Institute – in cooperation with the Eiffel Tower Operating Company — used this Street View imagery to create a number of online exhibitions about the tower.
These exhibitions feature over 50 archival images, plans, engravings and photos that, says Google, tell “the story of the Eiffel Tower’s development and social impact in the 19th century.” One of the highlights of this collection is a recording of Gustave Eiffel’s voice by Thomas Edison.
Sadly, it looks like Google only got a chance to take its Street View Trolley up the Eiffel Tower on a somewhat cloudy day, so the overall view isn’t quite as spectacular as it could have been.
Over the last few months, Google has been expanding Street View’s reach into a number of new locations ranging from underwater photography around the Great Barrier Reef to the Grand Canyon and numerous zoos, canals, abandoned islands and ski slopes around the world. Just last month, Google added close to 1,000 new Street View locations in Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America to its maps.
Google is trying hard to build out its Street View-style imagery of locales off the beaten path with its Trekker program. The Trekker, a roughly 40-pound backpack that has a camera-ridden sphere poking out over its wearer’s head, captures 360-degree fields of view which are then used to build interactive, first-person views of remote places like the Grand Canyon. Google is now looking for applicants to help it continue to expand its Trekker efforts.
The application is open to non-profits, tourism boards, government agencies, academic or research organizations or other groups interested in helping the search giant document the world. The applications will be reviewed over the next few months, and agencies selected will become part of Google’s pilot program, which is open to organizations around the world.
I got the chance to wear one of the Trekker packs at Google I/O this year, and to discuss the program with the tech’s co-creator, Steve Silverman. At the time, Silverman said that Google would be building out its Trekker program in the coming months, and it’s looking at outside partners to help with that, including the inaugural partner for this expansion, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. It makes sense that Google would turn to the people who know the terrain best to help them chart and capture Trekker Street View scenery, rather than trying to do it all themselves.
If they’re looking for anyone to help negotiate the wilds of Toronto’s dense urban jungle, sign me up, but this is more likely a job for those occupying greener spaces.