Google Street View, a service that provides real street-level pictures in Google Maps, started out as equal parts creepy and cool. While some users were up in arms over the personal privacy ramifications, others were anxious for it to roll out to their hometowns so they, too, could see their homes up close in a web browser. Today, with coverage being doubled, love it or hate it, Google Street View seems here to stay.
Just take a look at the before and after pictures above. Whereas before only select large cities (and pretty much the entire California coast) was covered, now it look like Google Street View has better coverage than either Verizon or AT&T’s cellular network coverage (and certainly better than either’s 3G coverage). About the only areas missing in the U.S. are large chunks of Minnesota and South Dakota — and really, who goes there anyway? (No offense.)
While I haven’t yet tested it out, I’d venture to guess that you can now travel coast to coast completely within Street View. It’s all the scenery of a cross country road trip without ever having to leave your desk (and none of the tacky tourist gifts).
The Google Blog has more of an overview of Street View’s rapid expansion this year both in the U.S. and overseas. Google recently revamped its Maps product to better emphasize Street View, and the Maps application for the iPhone gained Street View as well.
Now we can all stare at one another’s houses from anywhere in the world. Creepy and cool.