Google Maps has been for a while now man's best friend, and Street View is a popular service offered by Google Maps
Google Maps has been for a while now man's best friend, and Street View is a popular service offered by Google Maps, at present available over 85 countries, including the Arctic and Antarctica. In Street View, people can see 360° images from all over the world, be they streets, cities, historical monuments, cultural venues, and wild nature, on land or sea, and even outer space. The service is also available in Google Earth and the mobile phone app Google Maps. Google covers over 16 million km of roads, enough to go around the world 400 times. More information about Street View, how it works, and how it feeds Google Maps can be found in an article on the Google blog. Street View has been covering Romania since 2010, when they started publishing the first images from the most important cities on Google Maps. Coverage of Romania was completed in 2012, when they took in images from 40,000 km of roads, 39 cities, and hundreds of tourist objectives.
Gabriela Chioran is Google communication director for CEE, and she told us:
“I was thinking, over ten years ago we used to keep a map in our cars to help us move around, and we didn't have information on traffic, or other details, such as how crowded is the restaurant we want to go to, but since then we overcame the limitations of what a map can do. If I think of only last year, Google Maps made a lot of improvements, which made life in quarantine a bit easier, such as information on the number of COVID cases in a given area, where the testing centers are, what travel restrictions are for various countries, which restaurants are open, and which offer take-out.”
Since this is a reality based service, the change is constant, as Gabriela Chioreanu told us:
“Improvements never stop, and this year we will introduce over 100 changes more, based on the latest in AI. The ones of most interest for users in Romania could be information on the weather and the quality of the air. This is also the information most sought after on Google Search, and has become important for a healthy life for many users. Also, the ways in which you can reach a destination are shown in the same screen, to allow you to decide faster if you want to walk, drive, or use public transportation. What seems to me interesting is introducing versions of eco-friendly routes, which are obtained by a new model, which optimizes fuel usage, taking into account factors such as the slope of the roads and the anticipated speed. In the same category, next to eco-friendly routes, Google Maps will show Let when it is near an area with low emissions, which are perimeters that restrict access for some cars in order to reduce pollution.”
Then Gabriela Chioreanu added:
“When travel restrictions will be lifted, I think what would become useful would be the Live-View functionality, which is an AI technology that uses Street View to provide navigation instructions for walking, making it easier to take your bearings. Starting this year, Live-View will also be available for indoors, in malls, railway stations, and airports. All these updates will be introduced gradually this year, and I hope they will be useful to our users.”
Google Maps was one of the top most used Google products, with the application providing information on the testing centers in various areas, as well as information on COVID, or on businesses, because many had shut down, some temporarily, and some changed their opening hours, started home deliveries, and all these details were available to people. Our interlocutor also wanted to specify:
“What seems to me to have had a very positive reaction, based on usage data for our products, are ecological functions, more so during this period, air quality has all of a sudden become a priority for many people, all that has to do with ecological routes, routes to take for cycling, and all that has to do with nature, these have all become more important compared to previous years. I think there is increased interest in subjects that have to do with healthy life, with air quality, and quality of life in general. And I am glad that there is a reaction on the part of companies, which are interested in bringing improvements to answer to what people want.”
Over the next months, Google Street View cars will go all over the country's roads, visiting over 100 localities, in order to update Street View images in Google Maps in cities, on roads, and on motorways.