Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Google Street View now in Singapore

Buzz this

There’s a Google event happening today morning and I reckon it’s for the launch of Street View for Singapore.

For the uninitiated, Google Street View provides an almost all-encompassing panoramic view – as if you were standing on the street yourself.


It has allowed couch explorers to check out famous sights like Times Square (above picture) in New York, the Colosseum in Italy and the Eiffel Tower in Paris or just for the regular Joe to get acquainted with directions and venues while they’re making their way around.

The feature, built on top of Google Maps and Google Earth, is already available in places like Taiwan and Japan. If it does get launched tomorrow, it’ll make Singapore the first Southeast-Asian country to get it.

While it’s no secret that the search giant has been capturing images of our streets with regular sightings of its vans and even the Google trike, it comes as a welcome surprise after the launch of live traffic data on Google Maps just two weeks ago (traffic never gets the better of me now that I can check for jams on the major expressways when I board a cab or drive).

The timing is apt given that GPS-enabled smartphones are on the uptake in Singapore and geo-location services are getting pretty popular here. Just check out how Street View works on an iPhone and you can see how it can be a cool utility for everyday use:

(Props to Kurt von Moos for the Google Street View iPhone Tutorial on Vimeo)

There have been other interesting local developments, too. Location-based social networking service Foursquare just added Singapore to its list of cities and its fun and competitive take on awarding virtual points and badges to users for checking-in at locations and discovering new places has contributed to the flurry of activity I’ve seen on it so far.

Also check out the upcoming slick revamp that local-mapping service gothere.sg, which is built on top of Google Maps, is getting soon: http://sneak.gothere.sg/maps

Spotted any other cool location-based services or applications available in Singapore? Chime in by leaving a comment below.