Google Street View Goes Live in Canada, Except in Winnipeg

Google Street View Car Toronto

After months of anticipating the launch of Google Street View, the service is finally live in parts of Canada. Google spent years touring the country in their vehicles with a specialized camera on top, taking pictures of every visible street.

For security reasons, people’s faces and license plates are blurred, but if Google happened to miss something else, you can send in a removal request.

According to the company, the service is now available in Banff, Calgary, Halifax, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Squamish, Toronto, Vancouver and Whistler.

Oh, and Winnipeg didn’t make the list just yet.

There’s no word on when Winnipeg will begin appearing, but it should be shortly. Google didn’t spend 6 months driving around Manitoba for nothing. “Soon — we don’t have a set timeline yet, but we are planning to add our other Canadian imagery soon,” Tamara Micner of Google told late Wednesday. “We launched as much as we could this time, given Canada’s huge size (nearly 50,000 km of roads included), and we wanted to start with what we could and add; at Google our habit is to launch early and often.”

A few notable points from Google’s news release on Wednesday:

Facts & Figures:

  • Our drivers told us the biggest challenge to driving in Canada was the weather … it rains a lot in Vancouver!
  • Our drivers said the most fun part of mapping Canada was trying to guess how many Tim Horton’s a driver would pass each day.
  • The optimum weather conditions for capturing Street View imagery are dry and slightly overcast skies; rain, snow, fog and hail are the worst.
  • Street View on Google Maps uses state-of-the-art face detection technology to blur faces – technology which was added for new imagery in Manhattan in May 2008. This technology is new and sometimes we get some false positives: in some cases you can find we’ve blurred the face of a horse or even a statue!
  • Geography, population density, weather, and traffic are just some of the logistical issues that can affect the time it takes to cover a selected area, so it can take several months to cover an area.
  • The Street View mascot is called Pegman. He’s called Pegman because he looks like a clothes peg. He sometimes gets dressed up for holidays and other special occasions. In the past he’s been a snowman, a hippie, a witch, Uncle Sam, and riding a bike in the Tour de France.
  • Street View on Google Maps has been used for some imaginative purposes, including one Google employee who proposed to his girlfriend via Street View. Police in Massachusetts used Street View to find the location of a kidnapped child.

Street View in numbers:

  • 5 — Number of U.S. cities available with the first ever launch of Street View on Google Maps (San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Miami, and Denver).
  • 11 — Number of Canadian cities and regions now explorable in Street View: Banff, Calgary, Halifax, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Squamish, Toronto, Vancouver and Whistler.
  • 12 — Average number of panoramas someone looks at each time they use Street View.
  • 14 — Number of countries where Street View is currently available (Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States).
  • 15 — Number of times a day that Street View drivers have to climb on top of the roof to clean lenses, cover up when raining, and check equipment — some use small step ladders to make it easier.
  • 10,000 — Number of corrections or additions our users make to Google Maps each hour.
  • 49,400 — Number of kilometres of road covered for the Street View launch in Canada.
  • One million — Hours that Google Maps and Google Earth users spend browsing geographic content every day.
  • Tens of millions — Number of images that have been captured for Street View on Google Maps so far.
  • More than 150 million — Number of Street View images that Canadians have viewed of other countries in 2009 alone.

Image credit: Google