Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

Summary: Sigh. Why do I see Google's off-road Street View adventures coming out badly?

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TOPICS: Google
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I know that there's value in Google's new Street View Trikes. There are, after all, a lot of incredible places to which most of us will never be able to travel and that don't abut major thoroughfares for easy Street View cataloging. It's just that Street View has been so plagued by privacy problems and other missteps that any new technologies allowing them to go off-road just seems to be asking for trouble.

On Monday, Google announced the addition of a large library of images that couldn't be collected by their Street View cars to Google Maps and Earth:

In 2009 we introduced the Trike, a modified bicycle outfitted with Street View equipment, to visit these locations, from towering castles to picturesque gardens. The Trike team has been pedaling around the world, and today we’ve added more of these unique places to Street View in Google Maps.

The Trikes, invented during Google engineers' 20% "Innovation Time" are not exactly Radio Flyers as they must accomodate a full complement of Street View equipment. However, they're compact and rugged enough to give Google images of everything from museums to college campuses. As CNET's explains, tongue firmly planted in his cheek,

hough the first trike images were posted in 2009, today saw a veritable triking rollout from many parts of the world. Yes, these lovely trikes have even started to photograph hiking trails such as the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District in Rancho San Antonio. Soon, they will be driving right up your garden path so that they can take a really good shot of your kitchen. Or your nostril hair. Well, perhaps.

Hopefully this will just be one more awesome resource that Google gives us for free, ensuring that we're more likely to use Google Maps than Mapquest (and therefore hook into their burgeoning local advertising network). Of course, I'm not convinced that anything Google does with Street View will come to a good end. Too many people already have more than enough conspiracy theories about the company and its Orwellian data stores on our habits and whereabouts.

I don't happen to be one of those conspiracy theorists. I know that Google knows a whole lot about me and I've chosen to simply embrace the warm glow of all of the value-added services Google can provide for me as a result. Google, however, can't seem to keep itself out of trouble, especially when it comes to either Street View or social media. So what will be the fallout from this one? Only time will tell. For now, though, if you're like me and stuck in near-zero temperatures, would't you rather vicariously visit Legoland California? You can thank the Google Trikes for your virtual trip.

Topic: Google

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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12 comments
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  • RE: Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

    Im going to keep count of all the negative articles on ZDnet.

    Number 1
    TristanThomas
  • RE: Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

    If they peddle up some back roads in rural states, I predict a few of the trikes will be destroyed, not the riders, just the machines.
    PackingPadre
    • I predict

      a few of the riders will be too, by pitchforks or possibly combines. Question is, will anyone miss them?
      klumper
    • RE: Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

      @PackingPadre
      Ya'll not from around here are ya! ;)
      msdead
  • Not making Friends

    One way they're not making friends is to make it hard to have a photo of your house removed, and then adding it back in a while later.
    dunraven
  • RE: Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

    These people clearly have way too much time on their hands.
    spambox@...
  • Google Street Views

    I used the street view a few times and I like it. I used it to view places I used to live and it was nice to see those places still being maintained.

    The privacy issue is tricky. Most of what I have seen is the same as what people do see every day driving by these locations. Being able to see what the building looks like in street view helps when using a map to find a location prior to going there. It is also good for house hunting, one can look at the neighborhood using street view.

    The invasion of privacy by Google was more to do with collecting information about wireless networks and other unneccesary data. Google has been challenged for collecting more information than needed. Other than that, I do not see a reason for the implied hostility towards Google in the article and quotes in the article.
    sboverie
    • RE: Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

      @sboverie@... It is such a great resource when house hunting. We bought a new house last summer and I used street view on every house we considered before ever going to physically look at them. It's great to not only see the house but check out the neighborhood as well.
      non-biased
    • RE: Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

      @sboverie@... Let's see. You are running around your house naked and the camera gets a picture of your window. How about you are talking to a known prostitute when the camera comes by and takes the picture.

      These were REAL issues to many when Google Street View came out. Some people just don't want their homes, their family or even themselves on a photograph that the whole world can see that just sits there, day in and day out.
      hforman@...
  • street view is good for planning trips and making sure a business still

    exists before driving all the way there to find out it closed a few years ago.
    but we have a new hotel here that is not on the street view.
    wonder when the updates are scheduled?

    :)
    .
    wessonjoe
  • RE: Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

    Nice.
    james347
  • RE: Google Street View Trikes: Because your front door wasn't good enough

    Your front door is now visible from my drawing room halfway down the world
    lucius_lobo@...