While Google Street View has been pretty helpful for times when you’re visiting unfamiliar places or when you’re just curious about a place that’s far away from you, there’s still a lot of terrains that it hasn’t covered. They’ve expanded their mapping cars to mapping bikes and backpacks but it’s still not enough to have everything covered as well as updated. Now it looks like they’re testing out something called Driving Mode so anyone with a dashboard camera can submit and contribute.
XDA Developers reports that a Reddit user first spotted the feature called “Driving Mode” on the Google Street View app. With this feature, those who have dashboard cameras or smartphones attached to their dashboard can record their rides and then upload it so the data can be incorporated into the Street View database. Even if you don’t have a 360-degree camera, Google should be able to create images based on submissions so their Street View is updated.
As for privacy concerns, which is also part of the reason why Street View hasn’t been able to penetrate some areas, Google’s Artificial Intelligence will automatically blur faces and plate numbers that were caught in your video. This addresses some of the worries that were brought up when Google first tried to broach this crowdsourcing feature back in the day. But now that we’ll get AI blurring, that should solve that particular problem.
Having Driving Mode will democratize Street View further. There are still a lot of areas not captured by Google mappers, particularly in South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Google actually already accepts contributions from users but previously it was only for those who have 360-degree cameras. But now as long as you have a smartphone and you’re driving around, you can contribute as well.
This feature is still being tested out for random users but there’s no way to force it on your app. There are no rewards just yet for contributors but hopefully, they integrate it with Google Maps’ Local Guide program eventually.