Nine Eyes of Google Street View

03 Dec 2010
Nine Eyes of Google Street View - Jon Rafman

Google Street View was launched in May 2007 to allow our users to explore the world through images. At the time, coverage was limited to just five U.S. cities.

The feature provides users 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic street level views within Google Maps. Google collects these images using special cameras and equipment that capture and match images to a specific location using GPS devices. Once the images are captured, they are "sewn" together to create a 360° panorama. Faces and license plates are blurred before the panorama images are served and become viewable in Google Maps.

2009 and here comes Jon Rafman’s essay on Google Street View. http://9eyes.tumblr.com/

From Jon Rafman's essay:

One year ago, I started collecting screen captures of Google Street Views from a range of Street View blogs and through my own hunting. This essay illustrates how my Street View collections reflect the excitement of exploring this new, virtual world. The world captured by Google appears to be more truthful and more transparent because of the weight accorded to external reality, the perception of a neutral, unbiased recording, and even the vastness of the project. At the same time, I acknowledge that this way of photographing creates a cultural text like any other, a structured and structuring space whose codes and meaning the artist and the curator of the images can assist in constructing or deciphering.

This very way of recording our world, this tension between an automated camera and a human who seeks meaning, reflects our modern experience. As social beings we want to matter and we want to matter to someone, we want to count and be counted, but loneliness and anonymity are more often our plight.

The Filmmaker magazine (www.filmmakermagazine.com) has a nice article with the title "FROM ROBERT FRANK TO JEM COHEN TO... GOOGLE" (www.filmmakermagazine.com/blog/2009/08/cartier-bresson-frank-winogrand-c...)

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