Google adds Smart Navigation to Streetview

I have always found StreetView very cool but very frustrating due to the infinite time spent navigating the view. Google has introduced an upgrade that now makes it much more usable. From the Lat-Long Blog announcing the upgrade:

Today, we are really excited to introduce a new mode of navigation which liberates you from the road arrows and gets you where you want to go in just a few clicks. You can now use Street View’s smart navigation to travel to a new place just by double clicking on the place or object you would like to see. We have been able to accomplish this by making a compact representation of the building facade and road geometry for all the Street View panoramas using laser point clouds and differences between consecutive pictures.

As you move your mouse within Street View, you’ll notice that the cursor now has lightly-shaded geometry attached to it – it will show an oval when your mouse is following a road and a rectangle when moving across the facades of buildings. We affectionately refer to this cursor geometry as the “pancake” because it has the appearance of a pancake laying flat to the object where the mouse is pointing. By giving you a sense of depth,it makes the flat image almost feel three-dimensional!

Here is a vide that describes the new feature:

Take a tour of the street of the Frank Llyod Wright designed Martin Darwin House in Buffalo to see how it works:


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5 thoughts on “Google adds Smart Navigation to Streetview”

  1. Navigation upgrade sacrifices unobstructed view of image. So annoying. Can it be turned off? Or minimized?

  2. The huge rectangle needs to be either much smaller or hidable when not needed. It’s annoying, distracting, and very frustrating not to have a choice to hide it to have an unobstructed view while panning.

    The intention was good, and the ability to zoom down the road is nice, but the zoom-in feature is not as clear as it looks in the promo video. Every time I zoom in, it just gets blurrier and blurrier. So in addition to being annoying, it’s basically worthless.

    I give up! It’s not worth the aggravation. I’ll check back periodically to see if it’s more controllable. What a shame. I really enjoyed exploring with street view, but this irritating obstacle takes all the joy out of it.

  3. @Morgan

    As a very light user, I found the ability to move quickly a plus but I can see how frequent users that are looking for detail might find it frustrating.

    It seems that it would work better on those Streetviews that have more detail and it would make sense to give the user the ability to toggle it off.

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