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Google wants you to help capture Street View’s next 10 million miles

In the very near future you’ll be seeing photos shot on smartphones woven into Google Maps’ Street View.

Until now, the street-level imagery in Street View has been shot mainly by expensive cameras mounted to the top of vehicles deployed by Google itself. Now some of that job will be outsourced to Android phone users who will use the Street View app to upload their own photos of streets and places.

Google says that this will not only allow Street View to keep its imagery of changing neighborhoods more current but also extend its gaze to places it’s never been before, such as streets and roads in rural areas and in developing countries.

To weave the user images into a continuous flow, Street View-style, Google says it’ll call on the same software it uses to stitch together the street-level imagery shot by its own car-cams. The software also blurs faces and license plates and places images in the appropriate place on Google Maps.

If users capture business storefronts, those can be added to Google Maps along with their name and address, Google Maps product manager Stafford Marquardt tells me. The owner of the business might later come along and claim the listing and perhaps add more information, such as hours of operation, website, and phone number.

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