Need A Huge Expansion of Google Street View and Google Meander
I love Google Street View. I use it all the time. Sometimes it comes in handy. For example, a colleague in Los Angeles emailed me. She had received a business proposal for the Bahamas and my colleague was on the evaluation committee. The proposal had come from a person living in United Kingdom, who said that he represented a large, going concern that was capable of doing a multi-million dollar project. She sent me the individual's name and address. A Google search yielded little, so I plugged in the address into Street View. As it turned out, the building that this individual lived in, was far from the type of house that the CEO of a multi-million dollar company would live in. The address was for a rather dingy, run-down townhouse in London.
If I wonder what a place looks like, I call up Google Street View. Recently I came across some literature about a hot springs spa in Eastern Europe, and I decided to call up Street View to see what the area looked at. I was surprised to find that one could (virtually) "drive" right into the resort and see the bubbling pools. This was a surprise to me as to how they got the Google camera car on a footpath, until I saw a shadow, shown in the above pic. It is called Google Meander, and it is a backpack based Street View. Since then I have seen Google Meander at the Anne of Green Gables House on Prince Edward Island and other places.
The possibilities of Google Meander blew me away. Right now, I can take a virtual road trip to anywhere -- say Ottumwa, Iowa, the fictional home of Radar O'Reilly of M*A*S*H fame. I can drive through the streets and to the highways leading to it, and it gives a fairly good idea of the area and what it looks like. But it isn't enough.
On a road trip, you stop and look around at what there is to see. Suppose people, businesses, attractions, restaurants, stores, museums, etc paid Google to do a meander along the way. For example, if you are virtually driving a highway and come up to a rest stop, you could meander inside to see if it were the place were you could buy your lunch, gas, souvenirs, and check out the bathroom facilities.
A meander through the public parts of a museum would give you a good idea if you were interested in paying admission. A meander through a souvenir shop would tell you quickly whether it was just a tourist trap with cheap Chinese junk or if it had stuff of cultural significance.
We live in an information world, and the Street View mapping has done wonders, but it could go a lot further. Google, are you listening? Being a Meandering Man would be a great job, and Bob Dylan would write a song about me.