Google Maps Trike

Photo: Google UK

Google is expanding their “Street View” service from motor vehicle roads to biking and hiking trails. From an article in USA Today:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. —Meet the Google trike.

It’s the sequel, of sorts, to the Google Maps-mobile, a specially rigged car with an antenna, GPS and camera that snaps 360-degree images of neighborhoods for display in the “Street View” section of Google Maps.

Now Google Maps is expanding to biking and hiking trails. A Google employee on a tricycle rides around to snap the same wide-area views.

“Much of the world is inaccessible to the car,” says Daniel Ratner, a Google senior engineer who designed the trike. “We want to get access to places people find important.”

The project just got underway. So far, only a bike trail in Monterey, Calif., is up and running. Google has cyclists out now in California, Italy and the United Kingdom. The company says to look for hiking and biking images from those locations over the summer — along with shots from U.S. theme parks. Google won’t say which ones.

Read the article in USA Today

7 Responses to “Google Maps Trike”

  • bongobike says:

    First, let me say I’m not paranoid about it. We are already being watched real-time by cameras all over in most cities. But what the hell is this thing for? Does anyone have any idea what purpose “Street View” serves? What is its purpose? What do we get by seeing the facades of millions of houses in thousands of boring neighborhoods around the world? What does Google get out of it? It must cost them a huge amoung of money to have these cars literally driving around the world taking pictures of every street they can get on. I have yet to hear an explanation.

  • cafn8 says:

    I have found “street view” quite useful at times. I tend to navigate by landmarks better than by street names and if I can pick out some key intersections on my route, drop into them and look around I’m much better off. Plus, I live in New Jersey, so confusing intersections are par for the course.

    By the way, maybe it’s just the malicious sneer, but does anybody else think the Google trike rider looks a bit like Steve Buscemi?

  • Larey says:

    “What is its purpose? “

    I’ve used Google street maps while looking for new routes to ride to see if a stretch of road has any kind of shoulder, I’ve looked looked at rural roads to see where the pavement ends, I’ve used it to see what kind of a nieghborhood my friend was moving to, I saw the little house I rented during college is now a parking lot…. and on and on.

  • Lexica says:

    Street View is very useful. Examples off the top of my head: My manager phones, all stressed out due to being unable to find the meeting location — I can pull up Street View and say “it’s the building with the brick facade and the palm trees by the front entrance.” Or a website claims that something is located somewhere that I don’t remember it being — pull up Street View and see that my memory of the area is off, and the thing really is there.

  • Tom says:

    Does anyone find it amusing that the trike has pedals with toe clips? Also, the helmet seems like overkill.

  • Eric says:

    Hey – maybe now they will include bicyle in the mode of trasnport for thry miss many of the bike trails. And i have to interpolate where i am going.

  • Andy says:

    I don’t find the toeclips funny. With the extra pulling power they give, he might even be able to move that monster……

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