Greatest Google Street View Hack Ever?
Something doesn't look right in this random alley in Pittsburgh when you inspect it using Google Maps' Street View option.
It should be deserted on a rainy morning, but instead there's a marching band on either side of the street. In a garage, two people stand in lab coats next to a "Love Laser." A crowd of people gathers on either side, clapping and cheering, and confetti seems to be raining down overhead. Nine people appear be running a marathon, and a few blocks to the east you can spot a giant chicken sitting in a vacant lot, ready to be seasoned and put on a roasting pan. Near the street's end, two gentlemen have drawn their swords for a fight.
These things did not happen by accident. This "Street With A View" project was the product of two art students who, as a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story explains, came up with the idea of putting on a show for Google's Street View, then got in touch with Google staffers at the Web company's local office to arrange things. They recruited help from friends and neighbors and staged all those bizarre scenes on a Saturday in May as Google's camera-equipped car slowly cruised down a few blocks of Sampsonia Way -- as you can see in the video below.
The results are, as one review put it, elaborately awesome.
These shots have been online since November, but I, as somebody who covers the online world for a living, didn't know about them until I saw a presentation of Street With A View in an exhibit at the Arlington Arts Center Friday evening. It took me some time to stop giggling.
As brilliant as Street With a View is, I'm not aware of any other Street View hacks to match it. Not that Google Maps can't provide unintentional entertainment -- see the Google Sightseeing site for links to funny and strange things seen in Google's mapping sites and software (check back here later this week for a report on the latest release of the Google Earth program, which adds underwater and historical views). Maybe you've stumbled upon some of these quirky cartographic fragments yourself. What's the weirdest thing you've seen while clicking around a map online?
February 3, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories: Digital culture
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