Science

Google's Street View cameras get a high-res update focused on AI

Google's Street View cameras get a high-res update focused on AI”

Google's Street View project is about to get much more interesting and much more helpful thanks to more detailed images and improvements to the algorithms that examine those.

It looks like the large, globe-like cameras on top of Google Street View cars are about to change for good. And they're feeding all that granular data back to Google's machine learning algorithms.

Google's machine learning and AI capabilities mean that when photos are captured by a Street View auto, algorithms can detect and note relevant street names and numbers, automatically adding them to Google's database.

According to a profile in Wired, the new cameras are so sharp they might be able to see a store's opening hours from a sign.

Google started using the new cameras last month, and they're now being rolled out around the world. Google's mapping vice-president, Jen Fitzpatrick, said people no longer just search for their own addresses on Google Street View.

Google has already invested huge amounts into artificial intelligence and machine learning, and is using that technology to scan Street View data to answer conversational queries. Want to know what's in the red building next to the convenience store on the corner?

"These are questions we can only answer if we have richer and deeper information", she said. Google now rewards users for crowdsourcing this kind of information, but Street View cameras are tireless and never require incentives to contribute. Google has refreshed the design for the cameras used to capture Street View images, which is its first significant upgrade in eight years, reports Wired. Its fleet of Street View vehicles includes cars, snow mobiles, trikes. However, it's reasonable to say that Google would like to see improved data sooner than later.



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