• Saturday, 22 June 2024
Google's new Street View camera is more portable (and looks weirdly cute)

Google's new Street View camera is more portable (and looks weirdly cute)

Since launching in five US cities in 2007, Google's Street View cars have been circling the globe, using roof-mounted cameras to map more than 10 million miles of imagery — pictures that have been stitched together to build a visual map of much of the world.

Yet while these cameras have made it possible for Google to capture many far-flung places, they tend to be bulky, heavy, and require a bunch of computing power that has to be added on inside Street View cars.
On Tuesday, Google unveiled a new Street View camera it thinks will make it a lot easier to take pictures of the world, particularly in remote spots such as small islands and mountain tops. The camera weighs 15 pounds (about a tenth the weight of the current camera plus all the electronics the existing one requires); is modular so it can be customized with different sensors such as lidar when needed; and can quickly be connected to the top of a car's roof rack without needing the car to be customized (which will make it possible to connect it to many more kinds of cars).
As with the current Street View camera, it includes seven individual cameras, each with a 20-megapixel sensor, so it can take 140-megapixel panoramic images.
Last week, Google gave CNN Business an exclusive look at the new camera at the company's Street View garage in Mountain View, California, along with a tour of the array of cameras and vehicles Street View has used over the years.
The camera is cute — even for a surveillance device. It's about the size of a cat or small dog, and its top-most part is blue, with a white circle surrounding each of its large camera lenses (which look like big bug eyes).

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