Google Street View Gets Massive, Worldwide Update

Google has doubled the number of special collections in its Street View catalog, and updated its images along 250,000 miles of roads around the world.

Google's Street View image collection is again expanding its coverage of the world, starting with beautiful and detailed new photographic images of faraway and exotic locales, including Singapore, Taiwan and Macau.

The new images make up the largest one-time update so far for Street View, which now doubles the size of the collection and updates images along more than 250,000 miles of roads around the world, wrote Ulf Spitzer, Google's Street View program manager, in an Oct. 11 post on the Google Lat Long Blog.

"We’re increasing Street View coverage in Macau, Singapore, Sweden, the U.S., Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway and Canada," wrote Spitzer. "And we’re launching special collections in South Africa, Japan, Spain, France, Brazil and Mexico, among others."

The new image collections now include detailed photographs of places such as Catherine Palace and Ferapontov Monastery in Russia, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Taroko Gorge in Taiwan, Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada, and of Singapore's urban jungle, Fort Canning Park.

Also included in the new collections of photographs are several locations noted and celebrated in the writings of William Shakespeare.

"On the walls of Elsinore Castle, nestled on the northeastern coast Helsingor in Denmark, Bernardo and Francisco uttered the opening words to William Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy,” wrote Spitzer. “The castle known locally as Kronborg and immortalized by Hamlet, provided the setting for the Prince of Denmark to play out his personal battle with madness, grief and searing rage. Today, we’re also launching images from inside Kronborg and its surroundings, so you can discover for yourself the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s masterpiece."

The latest images are part of a continuing effort by Google to expand and improve its Street View image collection of spectacular destinations around the world.

In September, 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 Caitlin Seaview Survey, which is conducting scientific expeditions to explore and map the world's coral reefs.

Also added in September were Street View images for more than 150 colleges and universities around the world, giving online users "you are there" glimpses into more institutions of higher learning in the United States, Japan, Europe and elsewhere. Included in the schools update were UCLA, Pembroke College in the U.K., McGill 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.

In August, Google Street View expanded its library by adding images of the remote and beautiful Canadian Arctic hamlet of Cambridge Bay, as well as detailed 360-degree images of retired spacecraft, launching facilities and other notable scenes at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the Florida coast. Powerful new Street View images tracking the rebuilding of New Orleans following the devastation of 2005's Hurricane Katrina were also unveiled in August.

Google's Street View images will likely gain many new users now that the company is making the images available through mobile Web browsers. The new services, announced Oct. 4, will now make it much easier for mobile travelers to call up Google Maps and Street View images as they travel.

The move, which certainly will assist many Apple iOS 6 users who have been disappointed by the new Apple Maps service in Apple's new mobile operating system, came just a few weeks after a public outcry over map inaccuracies and related shortcomings built into iOS 6.