When Google Street View came to Belgium last year, they missed most of the smaller streets. But that's normal in old European cities, so Toyota decided the street photographing game was a great opportunity to promote their tiny iQ.
Initiated in the U.S. in 2007, Google Street View now covers all of North America and Australia, most of Europe, some of South America, parts of Asia, not much of Africa, and, somehow, most of Antarctica (they don't have a lot of streets to view down there). Landmarks were first, followed by cities, with suburbs and small towns to follow. They even photographed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week.
Even though Google has photographed almost every square inch of the U.S., not everyone's savvy. Last summer, I stopped at a greasy spoon diner in Sioux Falls, S.D. to enjoy a break from driving and eat a heart-attack-on-a-plate (it was some kind of eggs benedict with biscuits, gravy, bacon, hollandaise sauce and an unhealthy drizzle of corn syrup). As I stuffed a corn syrup soaked glob of animal cruelty into my mouth, I noticed an old man staring out the window like he'd just seen a space ship. It was the Google Maps car, a wildly painted Subaru Impreza with that goofy camera thingie stuck on top. I met his confused gaze.
"It's the Google Maps car," I explained. His response was a blank stare. He pulled at his overall strap uncomfortably and got back to his breakfast, muttering something about commies. Maybe the Europeans in those flats and shops lining the continent's tiny alleys will be a little more connected with the world. But you never know, some of those places are like remote canyons; untouched by the time and change that's happening a few meters away. (Hat tip to Patrick!)
Photo credit: iQ Street View