Google Maps Immersive View | TechNews [Video]
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Deep Into It: The New Enveloping Map Reality from Google
Just as we think there is nowhere more to go, another door opens. That probably would be a fitting fixed slogan for the tech (and in particular digital) world, because if anything is constant there, it’s the fact that even something already done well keeps being perfected.
And in this case, it can’t even be ascribed to eternal money-milking. Granted, this is one of notable and substantive drivers behind all things progressive, but a new version of Google Maps is not exactly a new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, and what is on offer now, we’ll have for the exact same sort of money (hint: none). Which means that, as much as it pains us to say it, there is just pure striving for progress and perfection at work this time.
So what does this new level of mapping that Google ambitiously named Immersive, bring to the table? In a word – well, two (but very meaningful) words – artificial intelligence. Thanks to which this Immersive (and not just already-familiar Live) View has become an example of What You See Is What You Get at its finest. Because this technology really does immerse you in whatever place it shows you, combining street and aeronautical photos and enriching them with Google Maps’ own data, provided handily on top of any chosen image set. And you can then move across the resulting images, checking how these already extremely lifelike “portraits” of whatever place of whatever city on whatever continent looks at whichever time of day or night, under whatever conditions, natural or man-made (such as gridlocks, for instance, if we are speaking of urban landscapes). Sounds like the next best thing to actually going there, does it not? Somewhat a step beyond even all these good travelogues and geographically themed documentaries, where it’s the blogger or production team who literally calls the shots. Now you decide where and when to go just by a click of the mouse (well, a drag of the slider): whether to – and for how long – look at the sakura in full bloom, or at the comings and goings at Windsor or Balmoral Castle (with an additional perk of not being stopped at the gates, look-in provided), or just to hide deep in whatever forest you prefer. And in as much detail as no Street or Live View could ever give you before.
And what is probably even more important, this new Google view will also help you decide where – and when – not to go, as the case may be. That is, when you, having looked at all these extremely realistic images of wondrous cities, forests and deserts, will decide to see some of them up close and personal, the Google Immersive can come in very handy indeed in terms of giving you tips about how not to end up sorely disappointed. Like, by arriving at a lotus lake exactly when the lotuses have finished blooming. Or having all the glories of Champs d’Elysees, Taj Mahal or Niagara obscured from your view by the ceaseless sleet of rain, snow… or the flock or your fellow voyagers, just as eager to see what this Earth has to offer. (And since this new level of worldview is still live, you’ll be able to check it all on the go and avoid the bottlenecks in the nick of time, too).
So, to make a bit of a long story somewhat shorter: by combining regular images with aerial ones and mixing maps with AI, Google gives you an ample opportunity to make some quite nice combinations of your own. Such as combining the fun and pleasure with getting some benefits, for starters. To wit, this way you can enjoy the best vistas there are, while at the same time learning when do they look the prettiest and how to catch them least crowded and to get there the easiest way. Suffice it to say, we can think of worse pastimes.
And yes, admittedly, this unquestionable improvement, of course, can and will also somehow complicate the very same task of finding the perfect time for visiting even the most remote beautiful corners of the world “far from the maddening crowds”. Such is the flipside of the very same availability we pointed out above that this advanced technology can and will be used by pretty much anyone with the Internet connection (and some savings for long trips). Which means that the anyone in question – and their aunt, naturally – may very well beat you even to the Amazonian jungle, forget the poshest restaurant of London’s Chelsea or the most famous waterfall in Canada. But then again, no one promised us it would all be easy all the time, did they? Plus, it would probably be boring, should it be so. And boring is the very opposite of what Google Immersive View is offering us.