Google Maps is getting a new update that lets you create Street View photos using just a phone. Android users with ARCore-compatible devices can now capture imagery and publish it to Google Street View in certain areas.
Google is allowing submissions initially in Toronto, New York, Austin, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Costa Rica. More regions will support this feature soon, and Google will use this user-generated content when it doesn’t have its own Street View imagery available.
“While our own Street View trekkers and cars have collected more than 170 billion images from 10 million miles around the planet, there are still many unmapped parts of the world,” says Stafford Marquardt, product manager of Google Maps Street View. “Where people contribute connected photos, they will appear in the Street View layer on Google Maps as dotted blue lines.”
The new beta feature has been in testing for months, and Google will automatically rotate and position the series of connected photos that are captured in its Street View app for Android. While users have been able to submit Street View imagery in the past, it required a special 360-degree camera. This new feature just makes use of a standard phone camera.
It opens up the Street View feature to many more areas, including hard to reach places that even Google’s Street View trekkers and cars haven’t visited. Google will also use this imagery to update Google Maps with information like new businesses or publicly posted open hours, and the company will apply its standard Street View privacy features to blur out faces and license plates.