Google Street View – Great For House Buyers

by Mike Holman

streetGoogle Street View went live today for Toronto, Vancouver, Hamilton, Kitchener, Waterloo, Windsor, Calgary, Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Montreal, Quebec city, Halifax.  Apparently Saint John NB, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg are next on the list.

If you were impressed by satellite images of your rooftop then you will be really blown away by this service.  I know I was – I spent at least half of my work day playing around with it.

What is Google Street View?

It’s an offshoot of Google Maps – you can select an address, then select “street view” and you will be able to see a picture of the front of your house.  You can rotate the view around and move up and down the street.  Faces, license plates have been blurred for privacy.

Are the pictures recent?

No, apparently last April (2009) Google had cars driving around with cameras that can take pictures of different angles.  They covered every street and every angle and then let the Google computers stitch it all together.

What good is it?

I think one of the best uses for this technology is for someone who wants to buy a house.  They can check out a prospective house for things like curb appeal (which might be out of date) and general location ie is there a wrecking yard next door?
Another use I can think of is if you are planning to visit an address then you can check out what it looks like first.  This would be great for a storefront on a busy street where the numbers aren’t always that visible.
Here are some uses that Google has come up with http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/using-street-view.html#personal

How do you use it?

  • Go to the Google homepage.
  • Click on “maps”
  • Type in an address or intersection
  • Click on the red ballon which shows the exact location of the address.
Click on the red balloon to get started.

Click on the red balloon to get started.

In the popup – click on “Street view” which is just under the picture.

Click on "Street view" under the picture.

Click on "Street view" under the picture.

Another way to get things started is to drag the little orange person at the top of the zoom bar onto the spot you want to see.

You should be looking at the address requested or in some cases it will be nearby.

Rotate the view

In the upper left hand corner there is a circle with a hand plus 4 direction symbols.  If you click on the up and down symbols the view angle will go up and down.  If you click on the left or right symbol then the view will rotate the same way.  This allows you to point in the desired direction or even do a 360.

Click on the left or right symbol to rotate the point of view.

Click on the left or right symbol to rotate the point of view.

Move location

You can actually move the location of your point of view by clicking on the road or any other object like another house.  If you click on the road then a white circle will appear – double click and your point of view will now be where the circle was.  If you double click on something other than the road – such as a house then your point of view will be right in front of that object.

Move the white circle around - double click to move to that spot.

Move the white circle around - double click to move to that spot.

There is also a shape below the navigation circle with a plus/minus symbols – they will zoom in or zoom out.
There is a small screen on the lower right with a little person – you can drag that person to other locations shown on that screen.

Show someone else

If you get a view you want to share with someone else then in the upper right hand corner you can click on “print” or “send” or “link”.  “Print” should be self-explanatory, “Send” means an email is generated with the link to your view.  “Link” just shows you the link to the view and you can do whatever you want with it.

Other ideas?

Can anyone think of other ideas for this neat technology?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kenyantykoon

i hane been reading about google street view and i think that it is quite the potential filled innovation- but this is a new use for it that i hadnt thought of. i was thinking of stalking people and cars and other things

2 Four Pillars

kenyantykoon – Yes, it occurred to me that criminals could probably benefit from this as well.

3 Kathryn

Love the idea of checking out potential neighborhoods that way. My friend in NZ sent me a link to her home and it was fun to ‘walk’ around her neighborhood and see where she lived. I found my house too! But strangely there were no leaves on the trees and all our windows were open yet none of the neighbours had their windows open. I can’t imagine why! Perhaps I’d just burnt dinner moments before …

4 Sampson

Sure is neat to scope out your own house. I too had a weird occurrence, my car was parked across the steet from where it normally is. Maybe I was visiting a neighbor.

Too bad I didn’t know when the car drove by, otherwise I would have followed it all around town – and my car could be included all over the city! I’m sure if enough time is spent, you might be able to find some weird quirky things. Maybe even some criminals caught in the act? or other ‘naughty’ things ;)

5 guinness416

For people like me with a very poor sense of direction, it’s good to be able to actually see the office building/school/pub before you head off there – saves 20 minutes of walking the wrong way and back out of the subway station!

You can clearly see the Dublin sticker on the back of my husband’s car in our driveway, which I’m pleased about. I also think it’s interesting that the pictures were taken during the strike – torontoist.com has a bunch of highlights, but I wonder how city/tourism people are reacting to the piles of garbage and the picketers in the images of christie pits, lakeshore west, etc.

6 Four Pillars

I read in the Star that when the “Google cars” come to town – sometimes artists will follow the cars around and try to get noticed. Not sure how that works – I guess if you are in front of the CN tower when the photo is taken then you might get seen by quite a few people.

7 DavidV

The house that I purchased in August shows the old owners moving (literally you can’t see the front of my house directly on since there is a moving truck there). So I think some of the photos are done in August.

8 Ben

I use it to find free parking downtown. I look for side streets and such so I don’t have to pay if I’m going to be their all day.

9 DAvid

Geez, I used to live 2 blocks north of the intersection you chose! The house appears unchanged!

DAvid

10 lawal

how can i see my house on this or my street map????

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