Google Previews Next Generation 3D Street View

Google has already started collecting data using next generation Street View imaging tools. Many people have taken photos of the new camera rig on some Google Street View cars, but no details on the instruments had been released yet. Now, in a rare glimpse of future projects, Google is releasing some preliminary details today of the data being collected for Street View 2.0.

New Google Street View car

The new instrumentation includes a custom FLIR thermal imaging camera, and laser scanning technology to collect 3D data. The new system is based on night vision technology used by the military, and scanning technology being tested at airport security stations. What’s really amazing is that the system is capable of capturing interior building structures! This means Google is able to automatically generate 3D buildings, complete with interior layouts, which will be viewable in Google Earth. An example 3D house is viewable in Google Earth complete with interior data can be seen here:
Example 3D house for Google Earth

The new Street View 2.0 data could be used to help improve the ailing real estate market, since people will be able to check on the quality of house layouts without even going to a real estate agent. And, Google Earth is the perfect application for viewing 3D data like this since most people use it for looking only at houses already.
This same thermal imaging technology could show people in their houses. But, Google indicated they will use the same kind of automated technology used in the current Street View to blur any shots captured of people in their houses. “Before we release the imagery, you won’t even be able to tell whether people have clothes on or not, or whether they are male or female” says Google spokesperson Bill Smith. “The blurring is really effective, so don’t worry!” Other concerns are whether Google will be able to tell what products you have on your shelves in your house. Google says that kind of data would be collected anonymously. But, they indicated their automated databases will anonymously show advertisements only for products you don’t already have. “This will make our advertisements even more useful!”
See example image possible with the system based on an image taken 01-Apr-2008:
FLIR thermal image

A professor from Harvard University, Dr. A. Fooles (who has a BS in Privacy Public Relations) indicated the tactic of previewing this technology could be effective. He anticipates this new Street View technology won’t be released until one year from today. “This will give plenty of time for conspiracy theorists, privacy police, and folks who just like to complain, a chance to cool off on the privacy issues so they can move on to the next problem before this is released.” says Dr. Fooles. So far, the new, improved, never before seen data, is only being collected in the US and the UK. But, Google hopes to collect the data in all countries on the planet by next April. Amazing!

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. So I guess this is a 1 april joke. Nice one

  2. Good article. That Dr A. Fooles really knows his stuff.

  3. barakuda says

    Is that Dr April Fooles by any chance. I know that guy. He decorated my house.

  4. Masonicmoron says

    This is an intrusion in to our privacy too far fancy spoiling a great joke like this here 😀
    wonder if this will be on the news tonight ?
    best regards

  5. I like it how he apparently has a degree in BS… goodl stuff, keep it up.

  6. If someone 6 years ago had posted a blog describing google earth as it is now, it too could have been an april fools joke…

  7. We’re spotting Google street view cars in the Vancouver BC area… Looks like we’ll finally get some Canadian Street view!!

  8. This is totally like………………….BS!
    Not only is Canda not coming out for Street View they are now doing Tricycle view which I think has to do with the economy so Google is going on a budget.
    That is why they are having requests for places on Trike View.
    I am actually serious! They are going on Trikes taking pictures on bicycle paths of landmarks and somehow have request system.

  9. David Anderson says

    This new Street view technology is great. Let’s hope that the operators of the vehicles endeavour to keep the camera lenses clean, unlike the situation today where, particularly throughout the United States, the imagery is spoilt by filthy camera lenses.

  10. Well, it is now a year later, April 1, 2010, and guess what? Google DID roll out 3D today, but not the same as they spoofed about.
    For this for-real 3D, you’ll need those anaglyph red/blue glasses.
    A treat, instead of a trick. I like it!

  11. Brian Hazlehurst says

    A huge cheer for Street Cam. It’s a stunning development. I’ve been leaping from panorama to panorama and spinning around, for instance, in all the old haunts of my youth, spent in Lunt, Sefton and Maghull near Liverpool, England. It’s been triggering so many memories, even sounds and smells. I’m hoping Rio de janeiro, where I live now, will have the same coverage.

  12. Here in Toronto I’ve been using google street daily for almost a year now. I was getting excited about the real estate applications of 3D when reading this article, then I realized this was an entertaining April Fool’s joke. They say there is some truth in every joke… I look forward to any updates 🙂

  13. I am trying to find a street view of thermal images of housing estates in the UK, does anyone have any idea if anything like this even exists?

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.