Since its humble beginnings in 2007, Google Street view has gone on to map out the entire world through photos, making it a perfect place to explore our planet from your desktop. The internet empire has attached its Street View cameras to all means of transport and even mounted them on people, meaning that the most unexpected places and scenes are sometimes captured by the all-seeing eye that is Google.
Some people like to travel vicariously through street view, exploring the remote and dangerous places that people rarely visit in real life. Others like searching for candid and funny scenes captured by the gaze of the camera – a kind of voyeurism of the world as it really is. No posing, no carefully curated images, just people and animals doing their thing in their natural habitats.
We here at Bored Panda like this too, especially the animals! Below is a selection of times when animals showed up on Street View, delighting us all with their unexpected and often hilarious presence. Scroll down to check them out for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments!
The Google street camera was originally mounted to a van and driven around the streets. But for more remote, hard-to-reach places they now use a backpack that a person can walk with, callled the Trekker. This means that Google can take photos of any terrain that can only be travelled by foot — provided the person doing the travelling is able to withstand the backpack’s 40-pound weight.
"Our goal is to provide the most comprehensive and accurate and useful map possible," Deanna Yick, Google Maps' Street View Program Manager, told Tech Insider, "so that Google Maps is a mirror of the real world."
“It’s not just about pretty pictures and giving people a sense of what things are like,” Yick continued. “We’re using this imagery for conservation, historical purposes, learning, and education.”
You can apply to borrow the Trekker to take on your own travels by checking out this page and filling out the form. Be warned though, Google Street View photographers have to be "very fit individuals," Yick says, because they'll be on their feet for long stretches of time, often while wearing the 40-pound Trekker backpacks. Would you like to give it a try?
Photographers get training at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, before they head out to shoot photos.
While Google Street View is still used mainly for navigation and orienting oneself with an area, Yick hopes people will continue using it as a place for exploration as well.
"People are comfortable using it as a day-to-day tool for navigation, but it's so much more than that," she said. "The fact that I can use Google Maps and hop into the Pyramids of Egypt without a plane or a new language — it's really exciting."
"What we've found is just because the road ends doesn't mean there's not more interesting stuff to see."
"That's where the good stuff is — off the beaten path."