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Google Maps Street View gains new camera and historical mobile images

It’s been 15 years since Google debuted the Street View feature in Google Maps, and Google is celebrating with new mapping hardware and a cool new historically-minded Street View feature.

Google published its very first Street View images back in 2007, kickstarting a massive new element of its prodigious world-mapping efforts. Ever since then, we’ve all seen those curious camera cars buzzing around our streets, hoovering up 360-degree images of our surroundings and depositing them onto our phones and laptops.

To mark the occasion, Google has issued a blog post updating us on some of the cool things coming to Google Maps Street View.

The first announcement is for an all new super-compact Street View camera that will enable the company to expand its mapping efforts. Rolling out next year, the new camera shrinks all of the mapping power of the famous Google Street View cars into a device that’s “roughly the size of a house cat”.

It weighs less than 15 pounds (about 7kg in metric). It’s also modular, so mappers will be able to add elements like lidar when even more precision is required. Plus, it can be attached to any car, and operated through a mobile app. This should make the technology much more accessible, and ultimately should make the Street View project more sustainable.

The second announcement is that Google has brought its historical Street View images to iOS and Android. For some years now it’s been possible to look back and see how our world used to look through the desktop version of Google Maps. Now that powerful feature is available on mobile.

Just look out for a “See more dates” when you tap on a photo in Google Maps Street View.

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