"It's a valuable addition to maps and complements the satellite view," said Greg Sterling, founder of consultancy Sterling Market Intelligence. "Microsoft has had this for over a year but hasn't rolled it out beyond Seattle and San Francisco. (Amazon.com's) A-9 also had it, but shut it down."
Google gathered its first images driving around the Bay Area on its own vans but partnered with Immersive Media, a company that has taken high-res video while driving along city streets and geotagged each captured pixel, for images in the other cities. You can check an example and interact with the map at a street level to really get the idea.