Recap: It's been 15 years since Google launched the first leg of an ambitious project to build a 360-degree map of the world. Today, there are more than 220 billion Street View images in Google's database from over 100 countries and territories around the globe.
Google isn't resting on its laurels. In celebration of its accomplishments, the search giant announced a new camera system packing the power, resolution and processing capabilities of its traditional Street View car camera in a portable package that's about as large as a house cat.
The new camera system weighs less than 15 pounds and can be shipped virtually anywhere in the world. Google said the camera is small enough to be mounted on any vehicle with a roof rack, and can be operated remotely from a mobile device. It's also modular and is upgradeable with add-ons like Lidar scanners for enhanced functionality.
Google is currently piloting the new camera ahead of a global rollout in 2023.
Elsewhere, Google has added the ability to view historical Street View imagery on Android and iOS devices. Simply tap a photo to see location information then select "See more dates" to check out previous captures of the same location and see how an area has changed over time.
This is the sort of feature I could invest hours in as I have a strange fascination with seeing how Mother Nature and Father Time wear on everyday objects like street signs and buildings over time.
Image credit: Daryan Shamkhali