|Photo courtesy of happi927.com|
By Justin H.
We all know what kind of jaw-dropping photos Google Street View is capable of. Explorers have really pushed the envelope and branched out far beyond the confines of urban America to provide us with countless images that would crush your average Instagram selfie in the proverbial like department.
When Google recently deemed the Street View car unsuitable for their aspirations, Google Trekker was introduced as the next step. Trekker is a device that Google lends out to great causes and foundations who then use the large backpack-camera hybrid to capture stunning imagery in places off the beaten path.
Google’s Street View car may be able to find reindeer running down the streets of Norway, but would it be able to zip-line through the Amazon Rainforest? I think not.
|Rudolph apparently had just about enough of not being allowed to join in any reindeer games.|
Google’s venture out into nature does not go unappreciated here at Tek Shouts! Most recently, the company broke the mold once again by finally allowing us to see what our pet cats can see – well, if they got lost in Japan – by creating Street View for cats.
Our furry friends can now plot out their routes throughout the streets of Onomichi before ever leaving the house! Best of all, there’s even a pin that allows them to see where all their cat buddies are. While the available cat view paths are currently limited, more are on the way.
Hopefully by the time they are released, cats will have figured out how to overcome their lack of opposable thumbs and navigate through Maps on their phones.
|"What is Henry doing at the salon, again?"|
As for animals with the strength to carry the Trekker backpack, Google anointed Raffia as its inaugural animal photographer. Raffia is a 10-year-old dromedary camel who strapped on the Trekker device and set off on a journey through the United Arab Emirates’ Liwa Desert, producing some of the most authentic and incredible photos you’ll see.
|No, that's not E.T. Just a camel with a Google Trekker backpack. Nothing out of the ordinary.|
“With every environment and every location, we try to customize the capture and how we do it for that part of the environment,” said Google spokeswoman Joyce Baz. “In the case of Liwa, we fashioned it in a way so that it goes on a camel so that it can capture imagery in the best, most authentic and least damaging way.”
Luckily for us viewers, Raffia was kind enough to film and document the whole journey.
Trekker has also given us the pleasure of examining animals in their natural habitats. In 2013, Google hit the frosty tundra of Churchill, Manitoba, also known as the “polar bear capital of the world.” Each autumn, hundreds of bears congregate in the outskirts of town, where they patiently wait for the bay to freeze so they can go search for seals.
|"Y'all got any snacks in there?"|
“More and more scientists are working with Google to use Street View to establish baselines and monitor changes over time,” said Google project manager Karin Tuxen-Bettman.
Very few people get the privilege of seeing polar bears in the wild, since most of them live on the Arctic sea ice. The project was done in an attempt to bring a more authentic experience to the rest of the world.
Google’s ambitious Street View endeavors not only provide us with some unreal photos to drool over, but simply shows us aspects of the world most humans are oblivious to. It gives us a peek into these majestic animals’ lives in their natural habitats, where polar bears are apparently pretty comfortable, and camels live a pretty happy and adventurous life. And who knew that cats had so many friends?
Of course, if you are more of a traditionalist, you can always check out Google Street View at the legendary San Diego Zoo. Whatever floats your boat! Google Street View truly does it all.
Who knows where Google will go next. Mars, perhaps?
Where do you want Google Street View to go next? Let us know in the comment section below!