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Google Maps Street View now in the Philippines

Google Maps Street View now in the Philippines
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Don’t be surprised when your neighbors start lining up by the street, looking dapper and excited. They’re not waiting for a flash mob nor another EDSA revolution. They are most likely waiting for their picture to be taken.

Google, in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT), has finally brought in the Philippines the exciting Street View feature of Google Maps. This means you’ll soon be seeing 360-degree photos of our beautiful country online.

In an intimate event attended by various media practitioners and graced by no less than DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr., Google unveiled the Street View cars, Trekker (“wearable backpack camera system”), and Trolley (“pushcart camera system”) that will start roving around Manila today.

Each Street View car, Trekker, and Trolley is equipped with 15 cameras that enable panoramic shots of a location. They started with four locations within Intramuros and have published the 360-degree photos online.

Don’t fret. They intend to cover the whole country soon and will do so using more cars.

The resulting images will help you explore local street routes, prepare you and even first responders for the area, allow you to travel virtually, and just showcase the beauty of Philippine surroundings. Businesses can use these images to show clients where they are located, while bloggers and netizens can embed the photos to accompany their online posts. Indoor shots are a possibility as well if property owners will request Google to take them. All the Street View images are free to use.

Knowing how Filipinos love cameras, Google’s system of blurring faces (and license plates) for security purposes might be a letdown. But seeing Street View images from other countries, it is safe to say that signs and other workaround would make it through.

But the Philippines, aside from having a breathtaking terrain, has a very rich marine life. Secretary Jimenez was right on target when he suggested to Google at the event to launch in the Philippines an undersea counterpart of Street View called Dive. If that becomes a reality, we all know who to thank.

Street View images of Manila and the rest of the country will soon be available on Patience is a virtue.

January 30, 2014 Update: Google clarified that there already are Street View underwater images of the Philippines. Hooray! Feast on the vibrant marine reserve surrounding the volcanic Apo Island in Negros Oriental here:

Watch the video below to learn more about ocean exploration via Google Maps.

And here’s the launch video of Street View in the Philippines. Find the first photos, how they were produced, and what to expect.

Words Aritha Zel Zalamea

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