Today Google added Phoenix (and Tucson) to its relatively new, somewhat controversial mapping product StreetView.
From today's Arizona Republic:
Today, the Phoenix area joins a handful of U.S. cities that people around the globe can tour – virtually – via a controversial new program known as Street View.
Street View is similar to the popular Google Earth and Google Maps programs, but it lets users navigate a city's streets in much greater detail by viewing 360-degree panoramic images.
It's pretty cool technology. Here is a view of Chase Field (home of this year's World Series Champions – hopefully):
Images I've seen from other cities previously added to StreetView were much clearer…. In fact, most of the Phoenix photos I've seen stink, especially when compared to the crystal clear shots I've seen in other cities. Perhaps better is to come.
What's the controversy? Privacy issues…. in some places you can zoom in and see identifiable faces, license plate numbers, etc. Apparently some folks don't want to be photographed walking into places like this:
There are cottage industries out there sprouting up from people that don't have anything better to do than look around for random people in compromising situations. I'm not going to link to them, but they aren't hard to find.
The application of this product for real estate remains to be seen. With enough coverage (and better photos) of the Phoenix metro area, it could be an interesting way for people relocating to "drive around" neighborhoods of interest.