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Google's Street View cameras get quality boost

07 September 2017

The firm is revamping its cameras for the first time in eight years to provide detailed HD images of the world.

It is the first major update to the Street View hardware in eight years. Those cameras are present to feed clean zoomed images into Google's algorithms to identify street signs and other objects.

The days of the large, globe-like cameras on top of Google Street View cars may be slowly disappearing. This new cameras will be able to take better images of nearly everything accessible by public on the planet. And then there's Assistant, which could answer more questions about a location based on data Google culled from Street View.

Google said the improved cameras would produce brighter and more colourful images, with less-noticeable seams where the images had been "stitched together" to produce a 360-degree panorama. Google will use the photos it takes of signs, business names, and even opening hours of businesses displayed on signs to apparently make it search results better.

Simply put, Google has a fleet of vehicles fitted with special equipment and cameras to take pictures of different places.

The old Street View cameras
The old Street View cameras

Experts believe that tourist boards and potentially governments will start driving cars with cameras on in order to ensure their local area has the most up to date information on Google.

'These are questions we can only answer if we have richer and deeper information, ' she said.

Google's machine learning and AI capabilities mean that when photos are captured by a Street View vehicle, algorithms can detect and note relevant street names and numbers, automatically adding them to Google's database. Jen Fitzpatrick, the vice president who heads the company's maps division says, people are asking tougher queries and questions all the time which needs an advanced technology to help them out with their queries and questions. Just like with the Internet, Google's map indexing is unrivaled-and now it's going to get better.

"From a machine learning perspective, everything gets better", says Andrew Lookingbill, an engineer working on the technology.

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Google's Street View cameras get quality boost