Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fun with Google Street View

Google Street View can sometimes be more entertaining than you think, which I have recently discovered. It seems that pretty much all of England, if not the entire UK, has now been covered by the service, which means you can virtually drive your computer just about anywhere. For example, you might start at the Cornish village of Tintagel and drive out north-east on the B3263, through Bossiney...

...where, apparently, a leaf got stuck to the camera (and, for the record, stays stuck for at least half a mile, after which I got bored).

A much better game to play, though, is one I call “Now You See It, Now You Don’t”, which takes advantage of the fact that the Google Street View camera often returns days, weeks, possibly even months later to spots it’s already visited. This can have the effect that just by inching forwards or crossing to the other side of the road, you can experience time travel.

Here, for example, are two views from the market place in the town of Stow-on-the-Wold:

Not only was the second view — a single keystroke away from the first — taken on market day, but from the evidence of the trees, I’d say the two images are three or four months apart.

Germany is a bit trickier, because so far only major cities have been catalogued, but here’s some construction work on Friedrichstrasse in Berlin, just north of Friedrichstrasse station:

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