Street View goes to the Space Center

To celebrate the Kennedy Space Center’s 50th birthday, Google took its Street View cameras into the famous Florida facility and captured multiple panoramic pictures with which you can purview the rockets, shuttles, and more.

“Countless enthusiasts grew up longing to see a space shuttle up close and walk in the paths of astronauts,” Google says. “Today, a collaboration between NASA and Street View is enabling people around the world to take a trip to the doorway to outer space, and see Kennedy as it transitions into a multipurpose launch complex for the next 50 years of space innovation.”

The space center is now Google’s largest special collection of Street View imagery to date, the company says, “totaling 6,000 panoramic views of the facilities, and expanding our mission to document the world’s most amazing places.”

Among the images to explore online are the space shuttle launch pad, Vehicle Assembly Building, and Launch Firing Room #4. “Gaze down from the top of the enormous launch pad, peer up at the towering ceiling of the Vehicle Assembly Building (taller than the Statue of Liberty) and get up close to one of the space shuttle’s main engines, which is powerful enough to generate 400,000 pounds of thrust,” Google adds. “From these vantage points, anyone can live out his or her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.”



Google offers businesses “Trusted Photographers”

Last year Google officered “Street Views” of indoor businesses: click in a web browser to see inside a stores or restaurant. Now the company is connecting businesses with pro shooters who can make the 360-degree images for them.

When it first announced the Business Photos pilot program, “we wanted to give business owners an easy way to get customers in the door online using interactive, high-quality, 360-degree images,” Google says. “With thousands of businesses under our belt — from salons to gift shops — we’ve been hearing the same question again and again from both business owners and photographers alike: How can I participate? Well, with the overwhelming success of the first pilot, we’ve decided to unveil a complementary initiative that will help us reach more interested business owners, more quickly.”

The “Trusted Photographers” program lets anyone use phone or email to set up a photo shoot. “This self-serve model makes for easier scheduling and quicker turnaround, while also supporting the local photographers in your community,” Google says. The photographer will upload the images, “and shortly thereafter, you’ll see 360-degree panoramic views of your business on, Google Maps, and your Google Places listing.”

“Trusted Photographers” are now available in 14 cities. “Don’t see a photographer in your area?” Google asks. “Let us know, as that will help us determine where more Trusted Photographers are needed.”



Google showcases Street View

Google updated its Street View site with “highlights from around the world in a gallery that lets you see ski slopes, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and breathtaking places on all seven continents,” the company says.

The Street View feature on Google Maps features close-up views of streets, buildings, cars and people across the globe, and, Google says, “we’ve been able to visit some beautiful and historic places around the world.”

The company adds that while it photographs most places with its camera-equipped Street View vehicles, “plenty of unique and interesting locations around the world aren’t accessible by car. To help us visit places with smaller paths or unpaved terrain, we’ve developed the Trike, Snowmobile and Trolley, which have enabled us to share parks, ski trails, and even museums with you in Street View.





Making a ghost town of Google Street View

A pedestrian is removed from a Street View image.

Prototype software automatically washes people right out of a photo in Google Street View.

Google automatically captures photos from moving vehicles — and the shots have random people appearing.

Developed by students at the University of California, San Diego, new software identifies people, removes them, and, like Adobe’s content-aware fill in Photoshop, fills the gaps to look like the surroundings. However, the pixels are not interpolated from one frame’s similar pixels, but instead are taken from photos taken just before or after the primary image, photos in which the person in question is not at the precise location.

However, as PC World reports, “…on occasion, it renders some bizarre results: dogs with leashes held by invisible masters and ankles without legs appearing in shoes.”