Google marked the 15th anniversary of the start of its massive and very contentious project to photograph streets in minute detail throughout the world.
Google Street View’s panoramic photographs have become part of millions’ everyday lives, yet it sparked several legal fights and shouts of grief from privacy advocates in its early years.
The US tech giant is commemorating the occasion by introducing a raft of new tools, including an updated version of the “time travel” tool, which allows users to view photographs shot by Google’s cameras in the past.
The company also provided a list of the most popular user destinations, with the Burj Khalifa in Dubai topping the list of structures, followed by the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal.
Indonesia, ahead of the United States, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil, was the most popular country for Street View, according to Google.
Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, came out on top, defeating Tokyo, Mexico City, Sao Paolo, and Buenos Aires.
Since the initial photographs of places like San Francisco, New York, and Miami were posted, the company claimed in a blog post that it had acquired 220 billion images and travelled more than 10 million miles.
It has subsequently supplied armchair Travellers with panoramic views of everything from Mount Everest to the Great Barrier Reef’s depths.
However, as Google’s reach grew, it prompted considerable criticism and years of investigation from European regulators – vast portions of Germany are still not covered by the programme.
It has also had some uncomfortable moments as a result of mistakenly collecting private photographs.
The company photographed a couple having sex next to their car on an otherwise empty road in Australia in 2013, and the image made it into the platform for a short time.