Google is doing its hardest to make sure you never have to leave your chair and thus never cease using its lucrative web-based products. In its latest war against the holiday, Google has added Venice and the Eiffel Tower to its roster of places to virtually visit.
Silliness aside, the technical feat of mapping Venice is actually something to behold, and something Google has been unable to do until relatively recently. As is rather obvious if you know anything about Venice, roads are relatively hard to come by in a city made up of more than one hundred islands. You have two realistic choices: Walking or gondola...ing. Google has chosen to do the former, by attaching a camera to a four-foot pole and mounting it to a backpack (see above).
Known as the Trekker, this piece of tech is operated by an Android device, with pictures snapped through 15 lenses every 2.5 seconds. The specially designed gear has already been to the Grand Canyon, so Venice should be a comparative walk in the park. The images collected should be up by the end of the year.
It's not the oddest piece of Street View tech out in the wild, however; the tie is currently between the Street View Trolley and the Street View Snowmobile, used for museums and mountains respectively.
Elsewhere, Google's lesser-known Cultural Institute has put together a rather excellent interactive exhibition for the Eiffel Tower. Complete with archive images and informative slideshows, the collection also features a Street View version of the Iron Lady which allows users to explore each of the three accessible levels of the tower. It's fantastic.
With Google now covering so much of the Earth's best tourist spots, it almost has the holiday experience covered through vertical integration; Earth for the flight, Street View for the destination and the Play Store for dreadful in-flight movies. Bliss.
By V3's Michael Passingham, who's in need of a holiday
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