The application I choose to examine closer is google maps, specifically street view in google maps. Overall Google maps is simply an application brought by google to see the world. You can see a satellite or map view of locations. Google took their application one step further with the implication of street view. With this you can access the idea of a map in a completely new way. You are able to feel like you are there in the space and almost walk around by interacting with the interface: clicking and dragging a mouse or using fingers on a touchscreen. To interact with this app you simply go to google maps and click and drag the small yellow person to any location and you will be transported into street view.
After using this application for a little bit I think this application is for people looking to familiarize themselves with a new location. I could see where some people are visual learners and would be able to direct themselves better if they saw prominent landmarks rather than street names. However apart from this, I don’t think many people are in need of this application apart from some kids messing around exploring the world. However, with that being said I could see it being used as a tool for education to virtually be in a location to experience it if you do not have the time nor funds to travel there.
I believe this technology would be either VR or MR. If you used it with a VR headset it would be VR. However, you are easily able to use this application on laptops, phones, and other smart devices with no restrictions or issues. You still be immersed as it takes up your whole screen but you aren’t seeing the image on your room for example. You can access this technology with google cardboard allowing you to see the world in a 360 degree view.
Other technologies that are used by this application are GPS as you need to keep track of where you are, also you are roughly dropped into the location you are currently or where your device believes you to be. Also photographic technologies allow for the capture of the images you see. You specifically need a 360 degree camera to capture all the information.
Some of street view’s strengths is the camera quality. I know that many of the images captured are from a moving car and the image is usually very clear from my usage of the application. Another strength is the quickness to load up new locations as you move along the road. Finally, ease of use. After you get it up and running if you have used a computer before you should be able to figure out the software relatively easily.
Even though this app is easy to use and has a lot of strengths there are always areas to improve. One thing that bothered me when trying to use this technology is the fact that you have to drag the small person to an area to start it up. In theory it is a smart design feature as it allows you to drop “yourself” into the location but I could see where someone might not understand and keep clicking it to get it to startup. I think this feature could be improved in some way to make it slightly more user friendly for people who might struggle. Another thing that I would improve would be to make sure the google car stays out of the way. A majority of the time you don’t see the car at all so it makes the immersion so much better. But a handfull of times I would find myself exploring and seeing the hood of a car in front of me and if I turned around at all, I would see the rest of the car. This broke some of the immersion and was quite distracting. I am unsure why it sometimes does this as the majority of time it wasn’t a problem.
Google maps already uses tracking technology when they capture their photos in a 3D space. That being said, google and other companies like Apple are getting into the indoor navigation that relies heavily on tracking technology that will allow the technology to innovate and grow.