Google Street View Displays Unique Images of Arab Culture

The first Google Street View images from atop a skyscraper are also featured, taken from a 2,700-foot-tall perch in Dubai.

Google Street View Images

Google's Street View program has unveiled the collection's first-ever photographic contributions taken in the Arab world and from the top of the world's tallest skyscraper, which is located in Dubai.

The Street View cameras captured amazing images from inside the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and are presently capturing new images at Spain's historic, ancient La Alhambra Islamic palace complex in Granada, Spain.

The new images are being collected and featured as part of the continuing expansion of the Street View imaging project, which was started by Google in 2007, according to a June 27 post by team members Tarek Abdalla and Daniele Rizzetto on the Google Europe Blog.

"We took Street View to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Spain's Alhambra, our first-ever collection in the Arab World," wrote Abdalla and Rizzetto. "Described as a 'vertical city,' the Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest manmade structure, towering over the Dubai skyline at 828 meters (2,716.5 feet)."

La Alhambra has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1984, and the images there are being captured using a Google Trekker backpack-mounted 360-degree camera. Images are also being collected in surrounding Granada, Spain, and are expected to be published in the coming months, according to the post.

The images at Burj Khalifa allow online visitors to get a taste of what it is like to stand on top of the tallest building in the world, wrote Abdalla and Rizzetto.

"This is the first time we've captured a skyscraper on Street View," they wrote. "The imagery was collected over three days using the Street View Trekker and Trolley [cameras], capturing high-resolution 360-degree panoramic imagery of several indoor and outdoor locations of the building."

In the new images, virtual visitors can experience the view from the highest occupied floor in the world on the building's 163rd floor, and they can also experience being in the fastest-moving elevators in the world, which operate at 22 mph, according to the post. Visitors can even see the highest swimming pool in the world on the 76th floor.

"In addition to the breathtaking views from the world's tallest observation deck on the 124th floor, you can also see what it feels like to hang off one of the building's maintenance units on the 80th floor, normally used for cleaning windows," wrote Abdalla and Rizzetto.

Google is always working to expand its Street View image collection. Earlier in June, Google added images of another 1,000 additional famous locations around the world with new images from Asia, Europe, Latin America, the United States and Canada. The images are being provided to offer more information to viewers as they plan vacations or simply explore the world from their Web browsers, according to Google.

Google's Street View image collection has been growing regularly since its debut in 2007.

In March, Street View added spectacular images of the world's tallest mountain peaks, including Everest and Kilimanjaro, to its ever-expanding collection of photos from destinations around the globe.

Also in March, a Street View crew collected and released a collection of haunting images of the Japanese town of Namie-machi. The photos were taken to document the evacuated town two years after radiation leaked from a nearby nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.

In September 2012, Street View added its first-ever underwater panoramic images, bringing in colorful and beautiful photographs of underwater reefs in Australia, Hawaii and the Philippines. The images came from the Catlin Seaview Survey, which is conducting scientific expeditions to the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea in Australia.

Meanwhile, the Street View program has come under scrutiny both in the United States and in Europe after it was learned that Google was gathering the information street-by-street between 2007 and 2010.

The company was hit with an $189,167 fine in Germany in April 2013 for collecting user data without fully disclosing the practice as Google Street View vehicles combed German streets collecting information for its maps back from 2007 to 2010.

Also in April, Google announced that its Street View imaging program is now operating in 50 nations around the world.