Google began offering street-level views in its maps Tuesday. A button with the label "Street View" now appears next to the "satellite" and "hybrid" buttons above map images for a select number of cities. Choose an address, click the "Street View" button and you'll see a 360-degree ground level view of that place on the map. Click on the arrow graphics overlaid on the street image and you can advance forward down the street into new 360-degree views. I typed in PC World's street address, clicked Street View, and the following view of the intersection of 2nd and Bryant in San Francisco came up:
I clicked on the arrows, moving east on Bryant Street. After about six blocks I ran into Red's Java House, which sits on the wharf at the end of Bryant.
The images that make up Google's Street View feature are taken by a small army of drivers with expensive, multiple lens cameras mounted to the tops of their cars. Streets for which Street View images are available show up with blue outlines on Google Maps. Google says Street View is available for major roads in San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Miami, and Denver. More cities will follow shortly, Google says. (PC World)