Google Street View ever more shockingly good

sat6jun2009—23w157d43%— 19h39m00s—0utc

“Just” through incremental improvements, from 2 years ago.

There’s no one revolutionary thing that has changed, it’s just incremental steps.

The image quality, most strikingly, has much improved, even full screen looks gorgeous.

Also impressively, there’s a new way to navigate through the view, the so-called pancake method, which is a perspective-skewed rectangle or circle that allows you to snappily zoom to specific parts of the picture while placing you in front of them. It’s a big thing, allowing you to navigate the scene with unprecedented ease, giving depth to the otherwise flat images.

It’s hard to explain, so better watch Google’s own (shockingly bad) marketing video for it:

More modestly, the early change from the balloon inserts of the early days to a full map view, with a tiny map in the corner (with that helpful, pointing little guy), was also important.

It all amounts to a much better experience.

It stuns me to realize just how close the near future predicted in Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End is ) — one with fully immersive, ultra high quality, body-controlled, many-angled, live street feeds of everywhere.

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