Google Street View

For the last year, Google has featured a cool little tool called Street View. It’s an add-on to Google Maps, and here’s how it works. Look up a city or a specific address on Google Maps and if the streets are highlighted in blue it means those areas have been pictured by Google for Street View. Type in an address, click Street View and you’ll virtually be standing in the street in front of the property. From there you can walk down the street in both directions and see pictures of other homes. You can also turn 360 degrees in any direction by just moving your mouse. This technology enables you to see the front of any home you’re interested in and even make sure the neighbors are neat and tidy.

This spring Google released this technology to techno geeks like me so we can use it as a third-party application on our own personal Web sites. And you can bet I didn’t waste any time making sure my Web site got plugged in. Want to check it out? Just visit me at www.codreamhouse.com and follow the Featured button. You’ll be shopping for a home and even getting the feel of the neighborhood without ever leaving your computer.

I’ve been using Google Street View since April, and so far the response has been phenomenal. No doubt the technology is a hit, but I’m still trying to figure out if folks are using it to look at homes for sale or if they’re just cruising by their own homes and those of their friends. Just one disclaimer on Street View: Google took pictures of homes in the Denver area during the summer of 2007. So all homes featured, including yours, will appear as it did then.

How’d they do it, you wonder? It was a feat accomplished by mounting cameras on top of trucks and painstakingly driving Denver streets one by one taking panoramic pictures of all the properties. To date, Google has shot about 40 cities restricted to the metro areas only.

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