Google Street View has added images for another 150 colleges and universities around the world to its ever-growing Street View images collection, giving online users "you are there" glimpses into more institutions of higher learning in the United States, Japan, Europe and elsewhere.
"With classes just getting started, freshman students, transfers and even empty-nesting parents can now familiarize themselves with college campuses around the world, including UCLA in the U.S., Pembroke College in the U.K., McGill University in Canada and Sophia University in Japan," Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps and Earth, wrote in a Sept. 5 post on the Google Lat Long Blog. "These new panoramic views join our growing list of universities whose campuses are already available in Google Maps."
Google didn't release a list of the newly added schools, but merged them into its existing list so users can peruse them, according to a Google spokesperson.
Some of the other newly included schools are York University in Canada, University of California-Davis, Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Emory University, Florida Atlantic University, Loyola Marymount University, Stetson University, University of Notre Dame and Washington State University.
Google also included the University of North Alabama (UNA), where school officials are apparently giddy from the attention.
"We were excited to team up with the Google Street View team and invite them here to capture a street-level view of UNA's campus," Jeremy Britten, UNA Web communications manager, said in a statement. "Google is such a large part of every college student's online life, and it was really fun to see the Street View car and trike around campus."
Google used special cameras mounted to a three-wheel pedicab, or trike, that was ridden along paths throughout the campus to capture the images.
On the other side of the world, Google Maps also unveiled new travel-related services in lush New Zealand, where travelers and local residents will for the first time have access to turn-by-turn bicycling directions for routes on the island's lovely roads, wrote McClendon. If their desired biking routes are not on Google Maps already, they'll now be able to use Google Map Maker to add bike lanes, trails and other features so that they can be used by others. "Beyond biking trails, Map Maker can also be used to make the New Zealand map more accurate with details such as new road names, building footprints and more," he wrote.
Google Maps Navigation (Beta) is also adding new driving navigation services in India to serve the huge and growing population in the world's second-most-populous nation, where about 1.2 billion people currently live. India is second only to China, which has a 2012 population of about 1.35 billion people. The new service there will provide voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions in thousands of towns across the country.
"Navigation is one of the most frequently requested features in this region and can be especially helpful when driving in densely populated cities like Delhi or Bangalore," wrote McClendon. "We're also adding live traffic conditions for major roads with estimated travel times to help you save time and to reduce stress on the road. "
Google Maps has been busy with lots of other Street View image additions recently.
In August, Google Street View expanded its library for online viewers by adding images of the remote and beautiful Canadian Arctic hamlet of Cambridge Bay.
Powerful new Street View images tracking the rebuilding of New Orleans following the devastation of 2005's Hurricane Katrina were announced Aug. 14, while images creating a "virtual tour" of NASA's historic Kennedy Space Center were unveiled Aug. 2.
The growing Google Street View collection also includes panoramic views of notable places around the globe, including historic Italy and California national parks, and highlights of must-see sites in the United States, Poland, Israel, Russia and the magnificent Swiss Alps.
Google Street View is even being used by companies in other innovative ways. As part of a new marketing campaign, Google Street View was recently used in South Africa to bring the classic Volkswagen Beetle "Punch Buggy" game to online customers around the globe by displaying Street View images taken in Cape Town, South Africa, and asking viewers to click on the VWs that they see.
Google's Street View program has been a source of controversy-particularly over concerns about privacy-since it first started more than five years ago. As part of the program, Google cars have been sent around the world to take photographs in order to create street-level views of communities, which then can be accessed by Google users.