Tech

Anyone with an Android phone can now upload photos to Google Street View

If you're an Android user with ARCore support, it's time to be your street's personal Leibovitz.

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Google Maps covers a great swath of this world. But despite having millions of miles to boast, the company admits that there are indeed parts of Earth that do not have Street View photos. This is where the public enters. According to a new blog announcement by Google product manager Stafford Marquardt, Google is now opening Street View photography to any Android user who has ARCore-supported devices.

This means you don't need to have an expensive 360-degree camera for the undertaking. Any camera will do. It also means that you don't need the pricey Street View car. "With our updated Street View app on Android, it’s now easier than ever to collect your own Street View imagery and put it in the right place on Google Maps. Using our new connected photos tool in the app, you can record a series of connected images as you move down a street or path," Marquardt wrote. We have a brief explanation that helps lay out how this works.

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What you need to do — To add your very own Street View imagery to Google, you need to record a series of photos in the area you're in. You'll probably have to walk down a pedestrian pathway, for example. Once you've recorded your images, you publish them to the Street View app. After that, Google will position the imagery accordingly — depending on the need to rotate, tweak an angle, and then stitch a series of clips together for a rotational view.

Once approved, your imagery goes up on the designated location. At this moment, the beta feature is live for certain areas, including Costa Rica, Nigeria, Indonesia, New York, and Toronto. User-created photos will appear on the map with dotted blue lines. If an area already has official imagery from Google Street View, you will see a solid blue line.

How to opt out — Of course, privacy advocates and anyone with a remote sense of unease with their house imagery showing up on a public map will object to this mainstreaming of Street View photography. Anticipating criticism, Google insists that these images will be up for review and that users do have the ability to report inappropriate or potentially dangerous photos. But if you still feel uncomfortable with the notion of your private residence becoming map material, you can report an "inappropriate street view" to Google, citing a privacy or security concern. Although there's no guarantee, hopefully Google listens to your apprehensions.