Google Street View Expands To Four New Cities

    August 7, 2007

Four more cities are now part of Google’s Street View program: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orlando, and Houston.  As for when – or where – the next update will be, there’s still no word.

For that matter, there isn’t even much info on the current crop of additions.  A post on the Google LatLong Blog announcing their existence is only 71 words long, and an article in the Orlando Sentinel notes that “Stephen Chau, product manager for Google Maps, could not say why Orlando was chosen for the second phase, along with Los Angeles, San Diego and Houston.  But he said the fact that Orlando is a huge tourist destination didn’t hurt.”

I can imagine all sorts of new Street View games coming into existence as a result; “Spot the Pickpocket” and “Eyeball the Mouse Ears” are just two possibilities.  Chau might have had more practical reasons in mind, however.  As he told the Sentinel’s Etan Horowitz, Street View “gives you a tremendous understanding of a specific location or area.  It helps drivers who are landmark-oriented.”

But not everyone stands to gain from Street View’s step forward; despite a deal with Immersive Media, Google’s Street View fleet was apparently seen equipped with Point Grey Research cameras.  As a result, Westwind Partners analyst Kris Thompson “downgraded his rating on the [Immersive Media] stock from ‘buy’ to ‘speculative buy’ and reduced his price target from $7.50 to $5.50,” according to Canada’s National Post.

Ah, Street View – a supplier of detailed imagery and financial instability.