Friday, 19 September 2008

Google Street View - live house view

Last month Google launched Street View in Japan, receiving criticism about it being an invasion of privacy.

Yeah, but you can explore the streets as if you were actually walking there! How cool is that? Not only can I see my house from above, but I can stand in front and see myself watering the garden!
Okay, I kinda made that up. Unfortunately my street is way too small to be covered by Street View.

I see Street View as a great way of familiarising yourself with the way to a live house from the nearest station, especially when you can't read the kanji on the map or don't know the area well.

Let's take Penguin House in Koenji for example.

If we go to the Penguin House website and get the address in Japanese (unfortunately you can't search Japanese adresses in Google maps in English), it looks like this: 〒166-0002 東京都杉並区高円寺北3-24-8 みすずビルB1. We don't need the postcode (〒166-0002) and the building name is unlikely to be known by Google so we can scrap it too (みすずビルB1). So we are left with 東京都杉並区高円寺北3-24-8 which we can search for in Google maps. Alternatively, you can often find the live house just by searching for the title. For Penguin House, we can find it by searching for "Penguin House" or "ペンギンハウス".

Okay, so we can see the approximate location of Penguin House marked on the map and can see Koenji station (高円寺) nearby, but it's hard to imagine what things will look like if you haven't been there before, isn't it? So click Street View and familiarise yourself with the route from the station:

You can see you need to go down this street:

And then turn left after Denmark and a pig:

Stop and wonder what this guy is doing:

And then, yay, Penguin House is here on the left:

So okay, this means more future projects:
  • Adding an extra field on the Add Livehouse page so we can include the address in Japanese as well as English.
  • Adding a link to the URL of the address on Google maps.
  • Plotting all (or most) Tokyo live houses on a public user-created Google map.

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Blogger Martine said...

FANTASTIC! O how I love Google. And o how I love people who make use of all the google offers.

Tokyo gig guide, thanks so much for making it easier to find these tiny little venues.


10:34 am, September 20, 2008  
Blogger mr craig e said...

Thanks Martine!
I've already used it to find restaurants, and discover new places to explore with my camera!

10:52 am, September 20, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my God. Thank you so much. When I found out Google did Street view for Portland, Oregon, I freaked out and checked other destinations throughout the world; but no Japan. NOW I'm set and I can plan my trip to JP!!!

4:15 am, September 24, 2008  

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