Google Street Art: View Over 5,000 Past & Present Pictures

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[ By WebUrbanist in Gaming & Computing & Technology. ]

street art 5 ppoints

Using panoramic Street View technologies, Google is assembling an awesome collection of high-resolution images capturing over 100 works in 5,000 interactive photographs to date, including many famous pieces from all over the globe (include now-destroyed paintings and tags).

google street art view

street art google navigation culture center

Street artwork is often ephemeral, sometimes disappearing within a day of its creation, making this endeavor an ambitious attempt to document an art form frequently subject to being painted over by unhappy building owners or paid city workers. Art captured and presented here ranges from whole-wall exterior murals to floor-to-ceiling interior works, complete with online critiques, commentary and supplemental imagery.

street art google view

street art preservation project

The 5Pointz murals, for instance, were lost despite community protests, first painted over (presumably to lesson the blow of what was to come next) before the building they were on was destroyed entirely.

street art panoramic

street art sea of figures

street art 3d capture

All of this is part of a larger endeavor, the Google Cultural Institute, which provides access to famous art and architectural interiors from around the world. The street artwork subsection lets you sort by artist or artwork, collection or location.


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Decaying Detroit: Google Street View Shows Transformations

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[ By Steph in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

Detroit Decay 1

The architectural equivalent of ‘Faces of Meth,’ these compiled Google Street View images of Detroit from 2009 through 2013 paint a poignant portrait of decay in the city. Entitled ‘GooBing Detroit,‘ a tumblr blog uses Google Street View Time Machine to follow the fast transformation of houses from cute and cheerful suburban residences to overgrown vacant lots.

Detroit Decay 2

Detroit Decay 4

Much has been said about the decline of a once-great city, and the seemingly diminishing chances of a comeback. The city’s 78,000+ ‘feral houses‘ are the stuff of legend, seeming to revert back to a wild state the way domesticated animals tend to do when left to their own devices.

Detroit Decay 3

The Street View images are often astonishing in the rapid transition in a span of just a few short years. A stretch of houses may have cars parked in the driveways, toys on the lawn and other signs of life all around in the first image, while by the third or fourth they’re barely discernible among the overgrowth.

Decaying Detroit 5

Decaying Detroit 6

Decaying Detroit 7

While these images really drive home how much Detroit has lost over the last three decades, many residents aren’t ready to give up hope, despite the fact that the city’s population has declined from a peak of 1.8 million to just 700,000. There are indeed areas of the city that still thrive, but the question of an overall plan (either to break the city into manageable pieces or reinvigorate it as a whole) remains an open one.


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[ By Steph in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

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Virtual LEGO Blocks: Build with Chrome, Set on Google Maps

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[ By WebUrbanist in Gaming & Computing & Technology. ]

build with chrome page

Build with Chrome is the new, fast and simple model-maker in town, and this one lets you create structures faster than digital SketchUp or physical LEGOs ever could.

build lego google maps

Of course, this Chrome Experiment project would not be complete without Google Maps integration, allowing you to deploy your creations around the world and interact with others.

build lego online browser

Architecture seems the most obvious, but infrastructure, ships and other complex shapes are all ultimately possibilities as well.

build lego pirate ships

Like SketchUp (previously owned by Google), the tool set is relatively simple, except in this case the learning curve is even faster, making it possible for anyone to participate with ease.

build lego house architecture

Users can select blocks, change colors, rotate with a key click, drop them into place then keep on stacking, then save or reset at any time. From private estates to pirate ships, anything is possible.


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Extreme Street View: Google Employee Maps Deserted Island

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[ By WebUrbanist in Global & Urbex & Parkour. ]

street view battleship island

Street View has mapped much more than roads in its, but sending a lone urban explorer through the haunting multistory ruins of a remote island may be one of their riskiest geographic ventures yet.

street view abandoned island

street view japanese employee

Strapped with panoramic photography equipment, this video shows a lone Google employee crawling through rubble, scaling partially caved-in abandonments and standing on precarious roofs, all to document one of the most unique deserted cities on the globe.

street view urban exploration

Occupied for over a century, and briefly the world’s most densely-populated island, Gunkanjima, Japan (aka Hashima) is now one of the loneliest places on the planet.

street view overview aerial

street view island rooftop

A giant concrete wall surrounds the ship-shaped Battleship Island, giving it its nickname. At one point it was packed with an average of 1.4 residents per square meter of space, almost like an overcrowded sea vessel.

street view inside walking

street view building infiltration

Parts of the deserted island have since been reopened to the public, but Google secured special permission to go off the beaten path and pass through long-abandoned buildings that only intrepid infiltrators have seen in recent decades past.

street view ruin interior

street view routes paths

Thanks to their carefully mapping, virtual visitors (web viewers) can now tour the corroded corridors, crumbling stairs and uncertain roofs from a much safer distance, almost look a choose-your-own-adventure for urban explorers.


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[ By WebUrbanist in Global & Urbex & Parkour. ]

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Phonebloks Unlocked: Google Backs Modular Mobile Phone

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[ By WebUrbanist in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

animated-mobile-modular-pho

More than the sum of its parts, the conceptual swappable-piece mobile phone design that went viral but is now being backed by Google-owned Motorola and is suddenly much closer to becoming a reality. Instead of recycling your cell, imagine switching in new pieces as needed to customize, repair and upgrade the same device indefinitely.

modular device assembled disassembled

Dutch design student  Dave Hakkens set off a chain reaction when he released his initial concept video online featuring Phonebloks, a simple but powerful idea for future-proofing mobile phones and creating an open ecosystem around such devices.

modular upgradeable phone concept

Motorola, meanwhile, was already working on a free, open-hardware device (think: Android for physical objects) along similar lines, and have now teamed up with this suddenly-famous designer. Like app makers in the digital marketplace, developers of physical components can make their own puzzle-piece parts for the devices.

modular concept pieces parts

Thunderclap helped Hakkens reach a huge audience quickly, with fans lending their social reach to promote the idea. Engineers, technicians and designers around the world showed interest in Hakkens’ design immediately as he racked up tens of millions of video views. He then began shopping around for partners to work on the project.

modular kit of parts

For its part in the partnership, Motorola brings technological research, experimentation and expertise to the table. In turn, Hakkens has built a huge fan following, showing his ability as innovator, designer and marketer.

modular phone motorola google

modular mobile phone design

Project Ara, Motorola’s name for the overarching and ongoing project, will be deployed along the same lines as Google Glass to beta testers. The first Phonebloks will be released to a limited audience who will in turn provide suggestions and feedback on the devices.


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Google Maps-Inspired Birdhouse Guides Birds Home

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[ By Steph in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

Google Maps Birdhouse 1

This little orange icon tells us just where we need to go on Google Maps – and now it shows birds where home is, too. Designer Shuchun Hsiao has created a series of birdhouses modeled after the Google Maps destination icon, and placed them all over urban locations in China.

Google Maps Birdhouse 2

The Google Birdhouse Project makes the iconic marker a navigational landmark for birds, and seeing them on walls will undoubtedly cause a few human double-takes.

Google Maps Birdhouse 3

Says the designer, “Google Map had created a remarkable landmark icon, showing the sites on its street views. To search for a landmark with online google map, we can scroll to zoom from the satellite, soon we’ll be able to wander on streets, virtually.”Google Maps Birdhouse 4

 

“Birds, have the most real experience of google map. Birds can fly through the city, through streets. A birdhouse becomes their destination as google map does.”


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