Google Maps Streetview Goes Underwater

26 Sep

I like a little mystery in my oceans. So I am not sure how I feel about the fact that the engineers at Google have now decided that taking over the terrestrial realm on Earth is not enough, and that it's time for Google to invade the watery realms.

But Google will do what Google will do, and this week they launched an underwater version of Google Maps Streetview, that can take land-dwellers beneath the surface to see panoramic photos of some special reefs.

Here's what's going on, according to the Google blog:

Starting today, you can use Google Maps to find a sea turtle swimming among a school of fish, follow a manta ray and experience the reef at sunset—just as I did on my first dive in the Great Barrier Reef last year. You can also find out much more about this reef via the World Wonders Project, a website that brings modern and ancient world heritage sites online.

At Apo Island, a volcanic island and marine reserve in the Philippines, you can see an ancient boulder coral, which may be several hundred years old. And in the middle of the Pacific, in Hawaii, you can join snorkelers in Oahu’s Hanauma Bay and drift over the vast coral reef at Maui's Molokini crater….

Whether you’re a marine biologist, an avid scuba diver or a landlocked landlubber, we encourage you to dive in and explore the ocean with Google Maps. Check out our complete underwater collection, featuring a Google+ underwater Hangout from the Great Barrier Reef. And you can always explore more imagery from around the world by visiting maps.google.com/streetview.

You get the sense that Google is diving in mostly because it is a cool engineering challenge, and there's nothing Google likes better than some oddball project, which may or may not change the world.

Here, take it for a spin:


View Larger Map

A little underwhelming, no? But there is also a lot of spin and chatter that this will help connect humans to the oceans and the undersea world in the hopes that they'll stop trashing the oceans.

That would be nice. But it's hard to know whetherthe fish will feel any better about Google Streetview invading their neighborhoods and privacy than humans have. And, in any case, there's simply no substitute for diving in, for real. Like this guy, say:

 

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