Google Street View gets smart navigation

Google's popular and yet controversial (in some places) Street View service received a nifty update

Google's popular and yet controversial (in some places) Street View service received a nifty update this morning, in the shape of smart navigation. By now, users had to navigate through Street View using some pretty basic forward and backward arrows along the roads, but things got better now.

Smart navigation, as Google calls it, liberates users from the rudimentary road arrows Street View was using for navigation. To release this feature, Google used laser point clouds and differences between consecutive pictures to rebuild road geometry for all of the service's panoramas.

The result: users can navigate around panoramas by double clicking with the cursor on any place or object they want to see. A 3D-aware circle indicates where the pointer is on the image, which Google affectionately calls a "pancake" because of its appearance when laying flat to the object where the mouse is pointing.

You can move the "pancake" around and when double clicking on it, you will be shown the best panorama in that direction. At times, the smart navigation pancake will allow you to zoom on certain images by double clicking, showing the best view of the selected location. In case you get lost wandering around the panoramas, a helpful back icon will take you to the initial route.

The Google Street View guys made this video to better illustrate the new feature:

Meanwhile, Google's Street View has been having a few bumps down the road in Japan and Greece, where privacy advocates protested against the service. Due to this, Google will have to re-shoot Street View photographs in twelve Japanese cities.

Privacy concerns were also expressed a few weeks ago in Britain, where privacy watchdogs campaigned to close down Google Street View only days after the service was launched in the country.

Regardless, Google doesn't look like it is going to stop mapping the world's cities. The company started to gather Street View imagery from hard-to-reach areas using a tricycle. Check out the slideshow here.

Follow Daniel on Twitter @danielionescu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlegoogle street viewnavigation

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?