Google Street View
Initial releaseMay 25, 2007; 15 years ago (2007-05-25)
Stable release(s) [±]
Android2.0.0.387140768 / August 9, 2021; 19 months ago (2021-08-09)[1]
iOS2.17.3 / May 17, 2021; 21 months ago (2021-05-17)[2]
OnlineRelease 268 (see list) / September 10, 2021; 18 months ago (2021-09-10)
PlatformAndroid, iOS, web
Available inMultiple languages

Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides interactive panoramas from positions along many streets in the world. It was launched in 2007 in several cities in the United States, and has since expanded to include cities and rural areas worldwide. Streets with Street View imagery available are shown as blue lines on Google Maps.

Google Street View displays interactively panoramas of stitched VR photographs. Most photography is done by car, but some is done by tricycle, camel, boat, snowmobile, underwater apparatus, and on foot.

History and features

Google Street View car in Germany
Google Street View car in Germany

Street View had its inception in 2001 with the Stanford CityBlock Project, a Google-sponsored Stanford University research project. The project ended in June 2006, and its technology was folded into StreetView.[3]


See also: List of Google Easter eggs § Pegman

Street View is available as a component of Google Maps and Google Earth, as a web application, and as a mobile application for Android and iOS. Originally, Google Maps used Adobe Flash for Street View.[23] Google overhauled Google Maps in 2013. The newer version uses JavaScript extensively and provides a JavaScript application programming interface.[24] At the time of their release, the new Google Maps and Street View were measured slower than the old version in various setups.[25][26] A user can switch to the old version of Google Maps, which is especially useful when Google Maps is more sluggish than usual.[27][28]

The drag-and-drop Pegman icon is the primary user interface element used by Google to connect Maps to Street View. Its name comes from its resemblance to a clothespeg. When not in use, Pegman sits atop the Google Maps zoom controls. Occasionally Pegman "dresses up" for special events or is joined by peg friends in Google Maps. When dragged into Street View near Area 51, he becomes a flying saucer, and when dragged near the Florida Keys, he becomes a mermaid. When viewing older views, the Pegman in the minimap changes to Doc Brown from Back to the Future.[29]


Main article: Coverage of Google Street View

.mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Countries and dependencies with mostly full coverage   Countries and dependencies with partial coverage   Countries and dependencies with official coverage planned   Countries and dependencies with unofficial coverage planned  Countries and dependencies with views of selected businesses and/or tourist attractions only  Countries and dependencies with views of third party images of streets and/or landmarks  Countries and dependencies without current or planned coverage
  Countries and dependencies with mostly full coverage
  Countries and dependencies with partial coverage
  Countries and dependencies with official coverage planned
  Countries and dependencies with unofficial coverage planned
  Countries and dependencies with views of selected businesses and/or tourist attractions only
  Countries and dependencies with views of third party images of streets and/or landmarks
  Countries and dependencies without current or planned coverage

Google announced in May 2017 that it had captured more than 10 million miles (16 million kilometres) of Street View imagery across 83 countries.[30][31] Maps also include panoramic views taken underwater such as in West Nusa Tenggara underwater coral, in the Grand Canyon, inside museums, and Liwa Desert in United Arab Emirates, which is viewed from camelback.[32] In a ten-day trek with Apa Sherpa, Google documented Khumbu, Nepal with its Mount Everest, Sherpa communities, monasteries and schools.[33]

Google also added landmarks in Egypt, including the Pyramids of Giza, Cairo Citadel, Saqqara, Monastery of Saint Mina, and the Citadel of Qaitbay in the 9 September 2014 release.

In June 2022, Google announced the company is relaunching their Street View service in India. The announcement came six years after the feature was banned in India over security concerns. The company has partnered with local technology businesses Tech Mahindra and Genesys to aid in the relaunch of the service. As of July 2022, the service is live in 10 cities in India.[34]

Official Coverage made by Google (Excluding third parties or unofficial)
Region Normal Street Coverage Landmark Coverage
East Asia Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong China
South-East Asia Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines
South Asia India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan
Central/Northern Asia Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia
Middle East United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Palestine, Qatar, Israel Lebanon
North Africa Tunisia Egypt
West Africa Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria Mali
East Africa Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda Madagascar, Tanzania
Southern Africa Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, South Africa
Western Europe United Kingdom, France, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland
Eastern Europe Hungary, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Albania, Greece, North Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine Belarus
North America United States, Canada, Mexico, Greenland
Central America/Caribbean Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico Costa Rica
South America Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay
Oceania Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Pitcairn Islands Vanuatu

Data capturing equipment

Street View camera
Street View camera
A Google Street View trike
A Google Street View trike
A Street View Trekker backpack-mounted camera
A Street View Trekker backpack-mounted camera
Google Maps Street View Trekker backpack being implemented on the sidewalk of the Hudson River Greenway in New York City
Google Maps Street View Trekker backpack being implemented on the sidewalk of the Hudson River Greenway in New York City

Privacy concerns

Main article: Google Street View privacy concerns

A Google Street View car showcased on the Google campus in Mountain View, California in October 2010
A Google Street View car showcased on the Google campus in Mountain View, California in October 2010

Google Street View will blur houses for any user who makes a request, in addition to the automatic blurring of faces and licence plates.[46] Privacy advocates have objected to Google Street View, pointing to views found to show men leaving strip clubs, protesters at an abortion clinic, sunbathers in bikinis, and people engaging in activities, visible from public property, which they do not wish to be seen publicly.[47] Another concern is the height of the cameras, and in at least two countries, Japan[48] and Switzerland,[49] Google has had to lower the height of its cameras so as to not peer over fences and hedges. The service also allows users to flag inappropriate or sensitive imagery for Google to review and remove.[50]

Police Scotland received an apology for wasting police time in 2014 from a local business owner in Edinburgh who in 2012 had staged a fake murder for the Google camera car by lying in the road "while his colleague stood over him with a pickaxe handle".[51] In May 2010, it was revealed that Google had collected and stored payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi connections as part of Street View.[52][53]

The concerns have led to Google not providing or suspending the service in countries around the world.

Third-party use of images

Imagery obtained from Google Street View has been used intensively for research purposes across a range of disciplines,[63] e.g. quantifying greenery, health studies, and assessing cycling conditions.[64]

Fine-art photographers have selected images for use in their own work.[65] Although the images may be pixelated, the colours muddy, and the perspective warped, the photographs have been published in book form and exhibited in art galleries, such as the work of Jon Rafman at the Saatchi Gallery, London.[66] In his personal appreciation of Street View material, Rafman sees images which evoke the "gritty urban life" depicted in American street photography and the images commissioned by the Farm Security Administration. He also invokes the "decisive moment" esthetic of Henri Cartier-Bresson "as if I were a photojournalist responding instantaneously to an emerging event".[67]

Michael Wolf won an honourable mention in Daily Life in the 2011 World Press Photo competition for some of his work using Google Street View.[68]

Mishka Henner was short-listed for the 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in November 2012 for his series 'No Man's Land', which depicts sex workers at rural roadside locations.[69]

Swedish programmer Anton Wallén developed a game called GeoGuessr, which places players into a Google Street View and has them guess its location.[70] In 2022, competitive players went viral, prompting a New York Times feature on top players.[71]

Canadian artist Sylvia Grace Borda worked in conjunction with John M. Lynch between 2013 and 2014[72][73] to insert the first staged tableaux[74] into the Google Street View engine. Their efforts won them the Lumen Prize in 2016.[75] Borda has continued independently to author in the Google Street View engine and in 2017 created the tableaux series the Kissing Project.[76]


See also


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