Google Street View shows what the world really looks like

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MapCrunch is addictive. Select the countries you'd like to include, then click go. You'll see Google Street View photos that are nothing like the photos in tourist brochures. (Via Gurney Journey)


  1. I tried this, and I selected New Zealand where I live. And I’ve gotta say New Zealand is fricking beautiful, and the 10 or so clicks I made could all have been in tourist photos.

    1. Yeah, I was just about to say the New Zealand ones are EXACTLY how I would hope we’re being advertised. I love my country. I’ve got to get out of this city more often.

  2. Problem is that Google Street View is still pretty much limited to the first world, plus a few developing nations like Brazil that are rapidly developing. Developed nations all look more or less the same. I want to see Burma, North Korea, Zimbabwe, etc.

    1. It’s also limited to the places a car can reach, for example there’s no Google streetview for Venice.

      There’s an alternative website set up by the town council ( ), which is very complete (including pictures taken from a boat moving along the canals), but with lower quality pictures and some annoying artefacts and glitches.

    2. How are they all the same? There’s a lot of neat diversity in the world, and some of even finds its way into places like North America and Europe.

      1. I’m not saying things are exactly the same everywhere, but let’s be honest; in the modern world where you can find Burger King in Prague is a far cry from the sort of diversity you could find in the 19th century even among US states.

        I’m curious about Arclight’s experience. As an American who lived in both Ontario and Quebec, while of course Quebec is very distinctly European, Ontario is so much like the US that half the US movies use Toronto as an indistinguishable replacement for New York or Boston. They just have to be sure to make sure to crop out the CN Tower and any Tim Hortons locations…

  3. Leave it to Google to make their API so open that even while they don’t make any money on Street View (that I can see), someone else can throw it on their own page and display ads.

    1. “someone else can throw it on their own page and display ads.”
      Those are google ads… which makes google a ton of money.

  4. 30 clicks later, over 85% of the US results had 0 or 1 residence within sight. It’s easy to forget just how freaking big and unpopulated much of the country really is.

  5. Here’s a thing to try for the Canadians and Americans here. Select both Canada and the US, then start going through the photos. See how many you can correctly identify as American or Canadian without looking at the location descriptor. I had a consistent ~90% rate of being correct, which is odd considering how dissimilar different parts of each country should look from each other, and how substantially similar both countries should look to the other.

    1. The problem with the America/Canada comparison game is that Canadian street view pictures are noticeably higher quality.

      That, and the occasional obviously-not-Canadian licence plate (Yellow plates, etc.) and French street name that shows up.

      1. I think even if you take those factors out (quality of photo, license plates, street signs and names, etc.) you can still tell the difference. It would be much more difficult if you’re not familiar with the other country. I’m from Buffalo, which is at the border, and have spent a lot of time in Canada, and I’m confident that I could get a high percentage correct without the giveaway clues. Everything is subtly different including things like the buildings and roads.

        It’s very interesting to me, actually. I thought a lot about this when I went to London recently – when you think of countries that speak the same language (including America, England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) you don’t realize just how different the other places are until you go there. It’s not as extreme when you compare the US and Canada, but it’s still a big difference.

        And for the record, I can usually tell when movies that are supposed to be set in the US were filmed in Toronto or Vancouver, and I don’t need to see Tim Hortons in the background to figure it out :) By the way, Tim Hortons have a pretty major presence in border states, and I grew up not realizing the rest of the country didn’t have them (or even just downstate NY).

        Finally, whenever I’ve traveled I’ve enjoyed seeing things besides what you see on the postcards. In fact I tend to skip many of the major tourist attractions, and instead just spend time exploring what the place is really like. It makes for a much more satisfying trip, and a feeling of really experiencing something different from what you’re used to where you live.

  6. I love stuff like this, especially since the economy has put a temporary (hopefully) end to my personal travels. Last night I was using Globe Genie (previously posted here) and found myself in the back streets of Sao Paulo. Just amazing to be able to go down the road see places that I will surely never experience first hand.

    Arclight, once you find a Tim Horton’s, you’re (most likely) in Canada.

  7. There isn’t a street view for 6th St. in San Francisco. It’s the heart of skid row. But the airporter bus goes right up 6th. Welcome to San Francisco.

  8. If only they had an automated tourist-brochure-versus-reality comparison tool!

    (captcha: Pythagoras whighfi… brings geometry to the internet age.)

  9. Is there a blog page or something when StreetViewers can post their spotting of Google cars? And yes, Canadian StreetView images are higher quality most of the time.

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