A Live Version of Google Street View

Many of you are probably familiar with Google Maps. You can search just about anywhere in the world and see a map of that area. In some places there is even an option to click on “Street View”. This allows you to see a picture type image that is navigable. It’s quite amazing because you can turn and view 360 degrees and even walk virtually down a street. Google accomplishes this amazing feat by sending cars rigged with cameras that capture panoramic views. Their cars have traversed almost every road in the United States and many parts of other countries.

Google Street View

Google Street View Car

Street View has already captured 100s of human beings engaged in a variety of activities; from the mundane to the downright scary.

People on Google Street View

People on Google Street View

People on Google Street View

People on Google Street View

People on Google Street View

People on Google Street View

What happens when the Street View feature of Google Maps is enhanced with a “Live View”? For the past several decades, mass media has brought distant events directly into our living rooms. Reporters in Selma, Alabama were able to capture images that shocked and changed a nation during the Civil Rights movements in the 60s.

Selma Alabama Protests

Police Brutality in Selma, Alabama

For the first time, a majority of Americans could see the brutality being unleashed upon African Americans as they marched for the right to vote. Soon thereafter, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act. Currently, most endeavors of kindness, violence or injustice are never captured for the world to see. Orwellian prophecies aside, if history is any indicator, more eyes in more places equals more justice.

It’s probably only a matter of time before the cameras that are already on most street corners of major cities are patched in to a live-type view for all to scrutinize. Military satellites are presently capable of reading the text of a newspaper in your hands from space. In the future, when the private sector has this capability it might be combined with cameras on the ground to provide live video of anywhere in the world. It’s likely that no single entity could process what is monitored everywhere. Rather, there will be millions of average people watching random areas of the world at any given time for fun, curiosity or other reasons. With a simple point and click, these videos will be shared across social media vastly contributing to our self awareness as a species.

It’s possible that one day, solar powered microscopic omni directional cameras will be mass produced. Millions could be dropped and networked all over the globe. Some sticking to trees, some sticking to buildings and other structures. With wireless energy transfer, cameras not located in direct sunlight could be charged by remote energy “cell towers”.

Omni Directional Camera

The Model T of Omni Directional Cameras

A recorded live view of everywhere will also produce a historical catalog the likes of which the world has never seen. Software could create a 3 dimensional representation using the perspectives of multiple street cameras and satellite video. Imagine doing a Google search for Times Square, New York during a specific point in time. Using virtual reality you could immerse yourself anywhere any time in the past. And it might not be just for public areas. Home security systems, computers and phones all have cameras that could contribute.

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101 thoughts on “A Live Version of Google Street View

  1. FuZyOn

    I always like to waste some time on Google Maps just to find random stuff the cars from Google captured but I didn’t know that Military Satellites are that advanced. A live version of Google Street View would actually be pretty interesting, but they would need a lot of funds to even start this project.

    1. suegiplaye

      I can’t wait until the future to see how solar powered this world will be. I feel like the world is not as solar powered as it can be today because the world leaders are corrupt. It is something a lot of rich people are already doing. Solar powered cameras on structures and buildings will be really cool.

      1. ellyjude

        I 100% agree with you. The world of technology can never steer forward in the required pace because a few people are corrupting the scenes. I would also like to see the world in a better place just like you.

    2. appdata

      If live Street View was ever introduced, it could almost be a substitute for visiting that place yourself, especially when combined with virtual reality technology! Who wouldn’t want to go to Google Maps, and just take a ride in a car, and experience life in Paris, or Rome, or Shanghai, from their living room. Cheapest holiday ever, right?

      1. adees26

        Live street view would be neat, but I have a strong feeling that Google would have an issue with people who would like to keep things private. That is also a big issue in today’s world is privacy. Privacy is essential because would you like a live view of your apartment if you lived in a city area? Some people may be fine with that. Some people may not. Live view would be helpful in the event of a crime, or a missing persons case.

        1. xXxDefinexXx

          Worse, what if some government entitle takes over the live view for their own uses? Everything would be monitored in public. Your movement, actions, and chats could be found in recordings. The dirt on many can be used to strike them down and prevent revolutions or protests. This idea still has some drawbacks that needs to be rethought. Live view is truly a fun idea but has a malicious backside.

    3. rhauze

      Our world is getting smaller all the time, and this is just another example. It would be fascinating to see what someone is doing right now on the other side of the country (maybe the world?) We’re living in a time when Earth is really turning into a world community, we don’t live in these isolated towns holding uninformed prejudices about the outside world anymore. Well, we shouldn’t, anyway.

    4. GenevB

      I’ve also spent a lot of time on Google Maps, actually whenever I’m bored I go there. I wonder if they have that amount of money to waste on live Google Street View, what do they get out of that? There has to be some kind of profit after all.

    5. Tipes99

      You’re right they would need a lot of fund to the live version. However, I wouldn’t mind investing in this technology. Look at all the possibility there is if this were to actually be accomplish. I’m not saying I’m rich and have money to spare, but this would really be convenience.

    6. madbunnyXD

      It would start in the richer countries first. Even if it starts small, it would be interesting. My country doesn’t even have most of its streets mapped by Google yet, but it would be so cool to see how the other side lives, through watching events live. But then again, technology is improving even in poorer countries. Who knows how long it would take before we can see what’s happening at any part of the globe?

  2. Kuraya

    Live google street view is a very good idea from a theoretical standpoint, being able to see what is happening in a specific place there and now, and it would also very much help out the police and other social services with their duties. Imagine being able to contact 911 without even having to say your address. That would most certainly be a useful advancement. However, I agree with FuZyOn, this would cost a very large sum of money, perhaps more than even Google can cough up, as to make it effective at all would require cameras on every single street corner to purchased and maintained.

  3. Jasmine2015

    Google is certainly a “giant” but not big enough to fund something like this. Maybe if Google were to charge people as an extra while keeping the current street view we have now as a free or a “lite” version. I could definitely see the live street view being applied when it comes to neighbors that are in neighborhood watch activities.

    1. GenevB

      I think that you’d be surprise how much money they have, they are big enough for sure to fund something like this, even if they don’t have the physical money, they can offer different things like publicity space in order to get different sponsors. They for sure have the necessary resources to do this.

    2. adees26

      Well Google itself would not have to put a lot of effort into it actually. They could always implement a plan with other organizations, or even government organizations to help with live view. I mean how many times do you go out in a city area and not see a single camera? Cameras are every where. Even in some places they have cameras at stop lights. But I feel that Google itself could not do the task alone.

  4. Sara

    The first thing that comes to my mind is the danger of loosing all the privacy we have, it’s weird to think all of our lives will be recorded within deep details, that’ll only make the governments more powerful and give them a great chance to become tyrants and corrupt because no one could beat their resources…

    I think we need some kind of open source hardwares, I mean, if they have it and use it to spy on us why don’t we have it?

    1. throwingthus

      This is exactly the thing that makes me the most uneasy whenever I hear about how great the world will be once we can see everything and criminals won’t have anywhere left to hide. But what if a corrupt government decides that protesters are dangerous and should be treated as criminals.

    2. adees26

      I agree completely about the open source hardware. Everyone knows that someone out there will abuse the system in some way. When it deals with privacy, I believe some safety nets should be put in place to prevent instances of that sort. I mean the only way to prevent abuses in privacy is to protect ones self because no one else will do it for you. One has to also realize that some perks do come with live view as well. I guess it would be up to the people to decide if it is right or wrong.

      1. ellyjude

        People often look at the positive side and forget if ever there is a negative side of a situation. For a start, most people will support the system but they will later come to realize that it is somehow harmful to them and maybe it might be too late to change the situation for the better. They will be forced to live with the circumstances.

  5. Liv6

    I didn’t realize that this was how Google street view worked, and it’s hilarious and mildly alarming to think about. It must be so dangerous for the drivers in terrorist-controlled regions; I wonder what the casualty rate is for these employees. I definitely agree with the statement that cameras will become more prevalent across the globe to monitor people’s daily activities, but I’ve never considered how exactly they would be powered. Interesting read, thank you for the article!

  6. sunshine703

    Google Maps is a great feature that I personally use a lot to to calculate how long it takes to get somewhere, what’s around the area and the environment view that we can have to the pleasure of seeing today. But to be honest, I kind of freaked out when I read the the satellites from space can read the test on our newspapers today. I mean it’s not like I have anything to hide but it’s worrying if google plans on implementing live recording on places throughout the world. It’s sort of an invasion of privacy and people can really misuse this tool big time. If this were really released to the public, I could literally track people who leave their house and stalk where they go all from my computer. And that’s scary to know that anyone is capable of following you anytime with this live feed.

    1. Jasmine2015

      I never really thought about how some people , like stalkers, could use it to their advantage. It is scary that you could never leave the sights of such people and they track you wherever you go.

      1. appdata

        The current Street View blurs out things like faces and car number plates. If that could be done on live Street View, then that would alleviate a lot of privacy concerns that people have.

  7. ssheffer1

    So interesting the things they find on these google maps. I have definitely seen some creepy things! but it is even creepier to me the idea of constant surveillance over people.. and hopefully we don’t go in much more debt to accomplish it. There are plenty street corner and store cameras

    1. xnon

      I don’t think this is happening any time soon as I would be an incredible infringement in personal privacy rights.

      Some places in the UK are heavily monitored by cctv cameras yet crime rates there continue to be an issue. The justification for this kind of policy would be difficult to bring in to the public light without upsetting much of the populace.

  8. bbatv

    I can’t see this happening particularly soon as it’d probably be really expensive but it could make people a lot more aware of their actions, which could be a pretty good thing. My main concern though would be governments having too much power with a live view, they could identify people protesting against them way too easily.

    1. xnon

      It would certainly be a massive infringement upon the populace’s rights. That being said, regardless of government or private control, it’s the type of technology that’s overly ripe for abuse. I would be very wary of any ulterior motives should any group begin to push to undertake such an endeavor.

      As it is, I already have my reservations about Musk’s wifi deployment. No single group should have the potential to solely control and operate critical infrastructure.

      1. bbatv

        I certainly agree with your last statement! There are already a few huge companies that have way too much power. Take Apple for instance, everyone loves their products (and will pay hundreds of dollars to buy them) but they are made by chinese workers in appalling conditions.

  9. xnon

    While this is certainly a direction that progress could take, it seems unlikely that something of this scale could be realistically deployed and maintained. Beyond the sheer cost of such an endeavor, it would face vandalism and theft unlike anything seen today. It’s presence would be a massive incursion upon the rights of literally billions of people.

    I could imagine such a technology being implemented in certain areas like around governmental areas, restricted compounds and other such secure applications but anywhere that’s public would surely be contended by human rights activists.

    1. GenevB

      Yes, it would violate the right to intimacy and probably most of the people wouldn’t be comfortable with it. There would be also ups and downs, all illegal activities such as terrorism could be tracked down much easily, but also stalkers an terrorists would track their victims easily. I wonder if this live version of Google street view will ever exist how it will pass the legislation.

  10. Juortega

    A live version of Google Street View, would be an intrusion of peoples privacy. Although, the idea may seem intriguing to ones curiosity of the surrounding world and its occurrences in live time it would obviously be subject to certain laws. Such as the invasion of privacy, obviously unconstitutional.

  11. Deceivingly

    I really love this feature of google maps, allows you to see what the area looks like before you get started. One time I was on the way to a store and could not find it. I pulled over got onto google maps and used the street view and it showed me that the store I was looking for did not look like any of the other stores in that company. Its amazing how helpful a little thing could be.

    It can also intrude on peoples privacy. I would like it if it would delete all the people in it so there are no problems.

    1. suegiplaye

      I truly cherish this element of google maps, permits you to see what the zone looks like before you begin. One time I was going to a client’s home and couldn’t discover it. I pulled over got onto google maps and utilized the road perspective and it demonstrated to me that the house I was searching for did not resemble any of alternate homes in that area. Its astounding how accommodating an easily overlooked detail could be.

  12. considera

    I agree with everyone’s opinions but I believe that I’d be beneficial in many ways. I think it’d help the police agencies with trying to find fugitives, suspects, etc. But, it could also be a horrible idea when you think about all of the people that could use it for the wrong reasons. It’s an ambivalent choice.

  13. kriegersan

    This perspective, of live supervision 24/7 is both scary and revolutionary. scary because will lead to a restriction of privacy, and revolutionary because, as you said, it might contribute to our awareness, as a society. I think it will be effective in dealing with crime and maybe will contribute to a safer world. However, it will take some time for live surveillance to be implemented in third world countries, mainly because the equipment will get stolen or damaged.

  14. juanperez1990

    This sounds awesome. But, does this not violate rights? Google at the moment blurrs people’s faces or straight up photoshops them out of the pictures. How will they get around this? Imagine you have a stalker… What if such staker were to follow your steps and always know where to find you?

  15. vegg

    As much as this is exciting, I think it’s also concerning. I guess that goes for most emergent technologies. The more information and technological power we have at our fingertips, the more WE are accessible through those avenues.

    I know Google maps already addresses some privacy issues by blurring faces that they happen to catch with their cameras. Will they do the same when this happens, or will everyone’s daily movements be accessible to everyone?

  16. rohrercm

    I feel like as advanced as we are getting with our technology, our society isn’t ready for this kind of technology yet. Being able to watch your ex-spouse’s house from the nearest stoplight, keeping tabs on who goes into your rival’s store, or if your son is going to his friend’s house or a “friend’s house”. Some of it may be good, a useful tool for parents, like content control on televisions, but it’s too easily exploitable for the public as of right now.

  17. hm0416

    wow this sounds great! I would love to see live google street view it’ll make google earth so much more better in my opinion! There are a couple of cons to this though, what about safety reasons? It sounds like a good idea but i would still look into it more.

  18. turtledove

    It’s scary but incredible that now technology has come to us being able to view something at the time without being there. It’s almost like a way of being there without physically being present. This concept could be a really useful piece of technology for a safer world. However, I think that this sort of technology should not be available to all of the general public, as it could lead to people’s privacy being compromised.

    1. Jasmine2015

      I agree. You could be in a place without physically being there. A great idea if you want to travel somewhere and know ahead of time the dangers and what not. But unfortunately we have a few rotten apples in society that always has to ruin things for everyone by misusing technology.

  19. appdata

    Having Street View cameras everywhere would be a lot like having CCTV surveillance everywhere, it’s just that these cameras would film at a higher quality.

    There are already heaps of debates out there about whether it is ethical to have CCTV watching everything you do in public, and I imagine that live Street View would be even more negatively received by critics.

    Normal CCTV can only be accessed by whoever owns the camera and the police. Street View would be accessible to everyone, which completely removes our privacy. Personally, I wouldn’t want a video of me walking down a street and stepping in dog poo to stay online forever. There would be far worse possibilities as well, which criminals out there would just drool over.

  20. guruproto

    Despite the numerous advantages that a Google Live View would have, I doubt many people would be willing to surrender their privacy like that. I for one consider myself a private person, and the thought of someone watching me as I go for a morning jog or walk to class is concerning.

    Sure, a version of Live View that allows the reenactment of certain events would be amazing. Being able to look through a historical catalog for specific crimes, movements, or turning points in history would have monumental benefits. But the idea of Google being the modern day Big Brother is frightening – I would rather keep such technology as science fiction for now.

  21. de86

    This would be amazing but Big Brother would truely be watching. Bad news for criminals and for the privacy of the average Joe. Fun for the rest of us on the Internet watching the hilarious compilation videos on YouTube.

    1. bbatv

      haha that would be amazing! You could have compilations of everything! Although come to think of it, if you fall down once in the street and look like an idiot you could be laughed at on the internet forever.

  22. wameyo

    Very Interesting indeed. I can imagine a man telling his wife that he’s on a certain outdoor function and the wife spying on him! Hope he’s not seen flirting with some lady! But on a more brighter side, his technology may help us catch any criminal activities going on the streets live.

  23. ScooterBrandon

    I love streetview. I have found myself in it as well, I saw the google car and remembered where I saw it. A year later there I am!
    The one thing that is interesting is when we apply the idea of “big data” and this type of technology together. We get a system that can absorb and analyst all this information… which can lead to some serious consequences.

  24. zclipse

    What a fascinating article! I had never even thought about how google created the “street view” shots before . . . the google maps car is awesome! It would be so cool to see one out on the road!

    As for a live view historical catalog, I could see where it could be pretty useful for solving crimes. And it would be fun to be able to use it for research or just to explore. But it also sounds a bit creepy to have people spying on you all the time like that!

  25. penelopise

    “More eyes in more places equals more justice.” This is true up to a point. One of the main issues is privacy, as a lot of people have pointed out. The other issue is our definition of justice. History has also been an indicator of the fact that our ideas of justice, of what’s good and what’s bad, what should be punished and what should be rewarded, are all INCREDIBLY fallible. We get it wrong more often than not, I think.

    So imagine that we have cameras on every street corner, and one of these cameras catches a crime in progress. The person committing the crime is arrested. The video is shown at trial as irrefutable evidence that the person is guilty. The person is sentenced. Good, right?

    Maybe. Jim Crow laws prohibited any sexual relations between black men and white women, to the point that a black man could be accused of sexual assault for simply offering his hand to a white woman. Obviously we don’t have these laws today and we recognize that they were awful, but at the time, we didn’t know that. There are still countries where being gay is punishable by death–imagine a live Google Street View catching footage of two men making any kind of physical contact that could be argued as romantic. It would be easy, in a homophobic society, to convict these two men of the “crime” of homosexuality.

    Cameras like that everywhere would be great for documenting and proving injustice, yes. But when we can’t be certain that we’ve figured out the be-all end-all of justice, I think it just makes it more likely that we’ll punish people for things that we’ll later on realize they shouldn’t have been punished for. Not even to mention the ways in which even video evidence can be misconstrued and taken out of context…

  26. michwest14

    This could have benefits but I believe there are more cons and pros. Imagine how much privacy this would invade? This would make people constantly paranoid to go out in their yards because anyone could be watching them from where ever. I feel like this would contribute to a rise in stalking as well as government surveillance. It’s a neat concept but the cost would be excessive and invade everyone’s right to privacy.

  27. sbatz72

    I enjoyed this post. I think it is quite fascinating how technology is going to record present day for future generations to study and see how things were today. I think when technology comes this far what will happen next and who will invent it. There are so many amazing happenings of technology and so many improvements have already been made to get us where we are today. I know there are a lot of people who fear technology and realize that most people think technology is the reason for the state of the global economy of today.
    In part this is true. I think technology is the reason for the state of the global economy. However, it is also a great thing. There have been many eras in the US labor force and now we are moving into a new era. Many just need to embrace it and go with it.

  28. Potatoman

    I’m not sure this will happen. Certainly not anytime in the near future or even the next 100 years. Personally I think it’s far too invasive of people’s privacy and personal space. To assume that you can have a live view of anywhere means looking into people’s windows and backyards etc. I’m pretty much there could be some legal issues involved in that. Would it be cool? Yes. Would I like the idea of someone seeing inside my house and knowing they can watch it freely? Absolutely no.

  29. Issac Asimov

    The UK is already moving in this direction as you can see here…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/webcams/

    But I think privacy is overrated anyways, particularly as we move more and more towards social media technology using personal devices.
    I can see a future where nano-swarms are used to monitor forest fires, migration patterns and even prevent crime. We are adapting more hive-like behaviors as the population grows and cultures become and more intertwined.

    Good article!

    1. Potatoman

      “We are adapting more hive-like behaviors”. This is actually a pretty scary thought when you think about it. We are claiming this planet way too much to be our own and we don’t really care for the implications it has for other species on it all that much. One day we’ll go too far and there’s gonna be no turning back

  30. Juortega

    Such an innovation has benefits as well as disadvantages. Acceptance or not It seems is debatable, Understandably, seeing that the applications data retrievable advancements have capacities that wrongfully bypass privacy, Therefore rules should be followed and legitimate to protect the victimized.

  31. MuseCleio

    There’s already quite a few webcams that are available to watch for anyone. Most are located in places where something of interest is happening, like hatching chicks in some bird nests. Actually, animals are a popular topic full stop.

    But others are in public places where people are probably not aware that they are filmed and watched by random individuals online. One that springs to mind is the London Abbey Road Crossing cam: http://www.abbeyroad.com/Crossing See tourists making fools of themselves.

    There’s plenty more. There’s a few directories like this one: http://www.opentopia.com/hiddencam.php

    The idea makes me uneasy, to be honest.

  32. edustadar001

    Of course there are some “Pros” for this kind of cameras but if you really think about that, it would mean that everyone can watch everyone whenever he/she wants it. This is ridiculous. No one would have any privacy. We all know that the government from the USA has this target but do the people really want this scenario? Imagine that gangsters can watch with this cameras when you are leaving your house and commit a burglary based on the information they have from this cameras!

    We all know that the future will look like this but there is still hope that we can defeat our privacy in the future.

  33. OoTWISTERoO

    I somehow doubt that this kind of thing would actually ever be built. People have stated above that this would require a huge amount of money. Our lives wouldn’t be so private anymore, anything we might do can actually be seen. That’s just not good. I personally do not want such thing to happen in the future.

  34. caross

    While the idea of a constant Big Brother situation isn’t appealing, there are plenty of interesting applications for the footage. Crime would be nearly impossible to get away with. You could catch your husband cheating, or make sure that your kids get home safe from school.
    But the practicality of that widespread of surveillance would mean that someone with really deep pockets would have to be behind it, and a lot of cooperation between nations, which historically, hasn’t really been a thing that nations are good at doing.
    So while the possibilities of total surveillance are intriguing, the reality is that it’s most likely far from happening in this lifetime.

    1. GenevB

      I agree, but I believe it’s possible to happen at a certain point from where it shall all come down, because people will start revolting against it for all different kind of reasons.

      1. michaelrydell

        Good point, and very true. It would become a severely hot and divisive political topic. I think the public at large would be very upset, and there would be huge problems because of this.

  35. sase3119

    I feel like this would take away the last semblance of privacy which people feel they hold. Currently there is only the potential that any one thing we do is on camera, as things like military satellites are presumably not interested in our boring lives.
    If 24/7 surveillance became a thing, while it would help with crime response rates and participation in world events, it would put us in a “Big Brother” position, where our every move is being monitored. It’s like the internet observation argument of “if you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear” wherein it is technically true, but that does not make it a comfortable situation to be in.
    Not to mention the ramifications this can have for things like kidnappings – yes it can be seen happening and you can be caught, but it is also much easier for the criminals to plan their actions, to see when the child they are not allowed contact with is unattended, the path they walk to school, and all that sort of thing.
    Not to mention the more innocent but incredibly creepy stalkers, who can suddenly watch the every move of the object of their affection. Restraining orders and similar become almost useless, because at any time there could be some creepy guy sitting in his mother’s basement and watching you hang out at the beach.

  36. michaelrydell

    I would be worried of all the misuses this application could present. I understand that it could make aspects of society safer… My concern would be the lack of privacy we would have. We probably have very little privacy left right now, probably much less than many people realize.

  37. troutman

    A “Live Street” View would actually be a terrible and scary thing, if you think about it. Nobody wants that many cameras penetrating their daily lives while out in public. It’s an incredible technical marvel and feat, sure, but I’m not looking forward to the day that I can see what millions of people are doing at the click of a button. That just seems like too many movies I’ve seen!

  38. Frennemeister

    Yeah, I’m amazed by the street view Google provides. When I was going to move I looked at the house on Google street view when I had nothing to do. One of the people that lived there before I moved in, was outside the house when they took the pictures. That was pretty cool.

  39. nwalker85

    It’s an amazing idea from a technological standpoint, but I’d imagine that many privacy minded, libertarian leaning folks would be completely against the idea. I can’t imagine being ok with being recorded, 24-7, in any public place.

  40. derskull

    The implications of this type of hardware/software are enormous. People would be presented with a social awareness never before seen. Crime would be far harder to accomplish, people could experience historic events from anywhere, etc.. No longer is the news given such massive control over the flow of information, people will be able to form opinions after viewing pure, unfiltered reality. Here’s hoping we see this innovation within the next century.

  41. joshc428

    I’d be somewhat concerned about my privacy. Who’s to say that these cameras, readily accessible for others to view, wouldn’t be pointed directly into your window? As stated in the article, the government already has extremely powerful cameras that can detail almost anything on Earth all the way from outer space. With privacy concerns regarding the NSA today, what will happen when powerful cameras are readily available to anyone, anywhere, anytime? I’d feel uncomfortable with the mass distribution of live feeds because someone with malicious intent could easily take advantage of these devices.

  42. ellyjude

    Technology is evolving and from the look of things Google is trying so hard to keep with the pace. It is a good thing that they have invented the street view. Although this is for the good of the public mainly, it comes with some disadvantages like lack of privacy. Other companies are also entering the market with similar services. This brings competition and we are surely waiting to see which one emerges the best in the long run.

  43. Alex

    I do think having a live version would breach many privacy laws, because who knows who google will give these images too. The fact I can look up an address nearly anywhere in the world and see it is amazing; I found my parents house and could see what they had done to the garden, but even when car registration plates are blacked out, it still shows them in the driveway which can cause issues for people who want their privacy. Surely they are entitled to that if they have parked a car on their own private land?

  44. ISKMogul

    Images that capture humanity in it’s most realistic sense always leave me with a sense of wonder. Google maps has the uncanny ability to allow us as passive observers to peer into the lives of people we will never meet, in places we’ll never visit and see what it was like there for a single frozen moment in time. That single 360 degree image is a still frame of one section of the entirety of our reality. Everything that went on throughout the universe was stripped away and existence is distilled down to that one image frozen in place. If that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is.

  45. kenneth

    I remember this one time I saw the Google car around these parts a few years ago, it’s really weird. I like Google Maps, I like to waste time in it so it might be interesting to see a live version of it even thought it sounds like some Orwellian stuff, really! I think it’s reasonable to be worried about Big Brother watching us, but ultimately if you’re not a criminal I don’t think they’re going to care about what you do in your own private space. Let’s not get too paranoid, here.

  46. FrankieD

    Wow, after reading the AI piece, followed by the self-driving car entry, this one takes the creep another whole staircase deeper in the basement. Forget about the distant future, just imagine what some next-generation sophisticated software could do with this. Essentially, we are talking about the raw power of endless webcams with a ton of usable live information. The application of this live view for education is obviously tremendous, but imagine the privacy abuse threat it poses. It reminds me of the future threat of being able to drop tons of undetectable nano cameras from the sky (private plane, balloon, etc.) that stick to things like pollen. You can spy on an and harass an entire city in ways never before thought of. All that being said, I would love the service of seeing remote places with the kind of technology discussed in this article.

  47. spaceboytaylor

    Definitely a cool idea, but also kind of creepy when you think about it. Not as far as a Big Brother kind of way, but still the though of somebody being able to watch your every movement when you are outside can be pretty scary. I’m still down to do it though, mainly because I think that being able to go back and witness past events in such detail would be an incredible feat of human engineering.

  48. Coolbutlame

    It seems just a little too impersonal for my taste. I do think that google maps should be updated every 6 months or so to keep up with current map and road trends, but at this point, it would be much easier to get some satellites working to keep everything up to date. Still a bit skeptical about giving up everything to our almighty Google overlords…

  49. carlhose

    Wow, great article. Fascinating and scary at the same time. I find myself sitting here after reading this wondering exactly how I feel about it. One thing I know, we are all becoming accustomed to being watched. For most of us, it doesn’t even cross our minds that we are probably being filmed and that someone is watching us. Cameras have been a positive in many instances, but the thought that you can’t even pick your nose without fear of someone seeing it is a little unnerving. I have to be honest, like most of us, I tend not to think about the lack of privacy we have. It’s become what the world is.

  50. ellyjude

    I canโ€™t wait until the future to see how solar powered this world will be. I feel like the world is not as solar powered as it can be today because the world leaders are corrupt. It is something a lot of rich people are already doing. Solar powered cameras on structures and buildings will be really cool.

  51. oraclemay

    I find this really interesting and if anything it should teach us to behave ourselves when we are out on the streets. It makes one wonder how many crimes have been solved by accidentally photographing the evidence without even having a clue at the time of the crime. It is usually only later that when the photo is closely examined we see something else in it.

  52. Celerian

    To be honest I feel that a lot of these people see the heavily branded google maps van coming and pull something off to get on blogs like this.

    But that might be the pessimist inside of me!

  53. -su-

    First I don’t know if Google would do this. I am sure they have the money and resources to do it look at their company size and huge amount of money and resources. But would they be willing to handle public pressure? There have been issues with Google Streetview as it is as when people find out that they are coming they will do crazy things just to be on Google’s Camera. What would the privacy issues with Google designing a live version of street view. Anyone could search an area and time (or watch it live) and see exactly what is happening. You would have no privacy in areas where Google has cameras and their would be no way to protect privacy. I would no support Google in doing this and I hope this is just a concept that you have come up with.

  54. Katekatecupecake

    I believe that we can adapt our technology to using live google street view. It could help with law enforcement, but at the cost of our privacy. This could help track criminals, but it would also give hackers and the government more tools to track our every move. The way I see this, it could be a good or bad thing.

    1. oportosanto

      No question there, I don’t think it’s a technological issue because the technology to stream it live surely exists, at the same time we have the right to our own privacy and there are laws against recording people (even if in a public space) without authorization.

  55. SirJoe

    I remember the first reaction a lot of people had when they heard of street view. There first reaction was, there you go, what every thief was waiting for. They can track you and see if you will be away for a long time or not.
    If they have to go forward with this, I don’t doubt that many people will be thinking the exact same thing.

    1. oportosanto

      That’s a really interesting perspective really SirJoe, if we had google street view live, most likely that would be a great tool for thieves that want to rob homes or other things, the could control everything in detail!

  56. SandmanZA

    Personally I think that we are all way too busy looking down instead of up. Google street view has benefits as I myself have used to gain familiarity with a place before I travel there. I just think that all the time, technology and innovation that goes into us watching ourselves is a bit of a waste. In the past man used to use the stars to navigate and personified constellations, man advanced as he kept looking up. I think we will be stuck as a species until we stop looking down and start looking up again.

  57. MadeForGreatness

    I am intrigued, exited and scared by this idea. I am scared because of the safety implications, the orwellian nature does not bother me as much as regular folks following someone via a live stream of the streets. But that is just my paranoia speaking.

    All that said, I really enjoy using street view, especially when preparing to visit a place i’ve never been before, or just for fun, getting “lost” in places. I especially like the advancement happening with 3D videos now on Youtube, where tv shows/events are using this technology to give the viewer an interactive ever changing experience. Where we can drag and move the camera even all the way around to the production crew and audience! Something like that would be even more accurate than current street view which can be choppy, inconsistent and annoying as you mentioned!

  58. staplerashtray

    This is a very interesting idea, however, not one that we should worry about for the next one or two decades I’d say. We need to think about the privacy concerns that such a system would bring. It would be a massive invasion of privacy if all it would take to watch any part of the world live is to click a button on a website on the internet, free of cost. What happens when the people watching, out of curiosity, interest, whatever the reason may be, are being watched themselves for the same reasons or even malicious reasons? You wouldn’t feel safe going out, or at least I would feel very uncomfortable walking around the street knowing that a thousand strangers may be watching me. The thought that just one of those thousands of viewers has malicious intent frightens me and makes me think that this kind of technology shouldn’t be publicly available.

  59. PenguinManiac

    As it commonly happens with technology nowadays, this could lead to both great and scary things. On the one hand, we could have the possibility (in a pretty distant future, of course) to create a virtual replica of our world, which could be used for a plethora of functions – have a look at famous places, just for fun, check out places we’re going to visit, or even give the possibility to people who are unable to travel for any kind of reasons to have a look at the world -, but on the other, we would surely have to face a lot of safety and privacy issues, which are already pretty widespread. It’s just a matter of choosing the lesser evil.

  60. loliveroliver

    Hello there,

    I think this is quite scary in a sense. Imagine * anyone * being able to follow you around using something like a live version of google street view.

    To be honest, I’m not sure people would allow this to happen. In any case, it’s also true that there is some level of anonymity in numbers and if cameras were everywhere, accessible to everyone, this would be certainly better than if they were only accessible to some people.

    Such a thing could make our society more just and transparent, resulting in less crime and corruption – so long as this would be accessible to everyone, and not only to a select few.

    Anyway, you’ve given me something new to think / worry about :D.

    Cheers,

    Oliver

  61. amiller280

    Scary, the ability of big brother to get a pin point view of anyone anywhere at any given time is chilling. Even considering the aging “You don’t have to worry if you don’t do anything wrong” argument heard time and time again by supporters of big government, their are consequences of technology such as this even existing in a time where a 16 year old can sit on his computer and hack into classified government documents, or bank robbers can steal millions from banks without leaving the couch. I would be concerned for the future of this country if the technology were advanced enough to zoom in and find facial recognition in a matter of seconds anywhere in the world.

  62. Novelangel

    There are a few problems with this concept, though it sounds great at the outset. Problem Number one… when all of those cameras are dropped, a certain amount of randomness will occur. Some will end up getting crushed underfoot or beneath car tires, which would be a rather expensive situation. Problem number two… People will find them and steal them for their expensive inner workings. Problem number three… Some people are already paranoid enough about “big brother” watching them. Adding numerous multi-directional cameras to the equation will cause an uproar so huge, world-wide looting and rioting could erupt. I sincerely doubt that something on this scale could work perfectly toward the desired end.

  63. jonjenkins

    I have wondered before about how nice it would be to have a live view of the planet. It would be great to tour places in this kind of virtual way. I’m sure at some point it will be possible to automatically remove people from all shots in real time. It’s still a privacy problem though, as government will no doubt want to see a feed with all people left in the picture! As for recording everything for posterity, that will need huge amounts of processing and probably some new storage technology. Something for the quantum computing age perhaps?

  64. oportosanto

    Well a live version of Google street view would be something fascinating no question, but once more privacy issues can be raised. I recall seeing a number of pictures from Google maps where people appear doing their needs or other intimate stuff, so we need to be careful with that.

  65. anorexorcist

    I think that this might actually be a good idea, but I think that it won’t be a complete thing, maybe in some places of the world, but not in all of them… There’s a lot of things going on every single day that the governments in general doesn’t want us to see. But ignoring this fact, I think that it would be pretty interesting to see what’s going on live on the world, it would also be a great resource for evidence in general.

  66. SFOMH88

    YouTube implemented a way to upload 360 degree videos. Basically, you record footage with a 360 degree camera and upload it. Viewers will then be able to look around in any direction by dragging the mouse. I wonder if in the near future we will able to livestream with such cameras? It seems possible, even inevitable.

  67. dmk1985

    The idea of Google Live View is an interesting one for sure. Recently I decided to Google one of the old addresses where my family lived when I was a young boy, and I was elated to find that there were Street View images of the location. There were some changes to the structure of the old house, but for the most part it looked like how I remember. The sense of nostalgia was overwhelming, and I was overcome with memories. A ‘Live’ version of that Street View might have been even more thought-provoking. I wonder if it still has the same lazy feel it used to have back in the day.

  68. Wheezybz

    It’s not just the cost of setting it up. It’s also maintaining the cameras, their internet connection, and any permits that would enable them to be placed in the first place. And let’s not forget vandalism.

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