Google is letting regular users capture Street View images with their smartphones


Google Maps is an incredibly useful tool, largely thanks to its helpful “Street View” feature. However, Street View is limited by what Google and its partners have been able to map out — there are still plenty of locations that the company hasn’t been able to get to yet. Fortunately, ordinary users can now contribute to the Street View project just by using their smartphones.
Ordinarily, you’d need a fancy 360-degree camera to accomplish this task, but thanks to a new announcement from Google Product Manager Stafford Marquardt, those requirements have been eliminated. If you have an Android device with support for ARCore, you can download the recently-updated Street View app and start capturing ground-level footage for your fellow users to take advantage of.

Well, “footage” may not be the right word for this tool. While you will record the space ahead of you as you walk down a given path, your recordings will be converted into a series of “connected images” instead of a live video. This is what will allow other Street View users to click (or tap) around and follow your path virtually.

The downside, from what we can tell, is that there doesn’t appear to be any 360-degree photo support here. That’s to be expected, since modern smartphones have no way of recording 360-degree images while moving, but that might frustrate some users.

Marquardt says “anyone” can contribute to Street View now, so if you’d like to participate, just open up your Street View app on a compatible Android device and start recording.

There is a slight catch, though — for now, this new feature is only usable for individuals living in Toronto, Canada, New York City, and Austin, Texas. Nigeria, Indonesia, and Costa Rica are also included, but Marquardt didn’t specify what cities or regions are supported in those countries.