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Can you track the Google Maps camera car?

By Steve Fidel | Posted - Dec. 2, 2011 at 10:12 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — Have you ever Google-Mapped your address just to see what your house looks like?

Consider this: If you knew the car with the camera on the roof taking pictures for Google Maps was coming though your neighborhood, would you stand on the porch with the family and wave, or hide inside with the blinds closed?

To get that street view on Google Maps, a special camera- equipped car has to drive down every street, in every neighborhood. So, how can you find out when Google will hit your street? And who is driving those cars, and snapping these photos anyway?

Turns out, it's not easy information to get. Because Google doesn't want that information out, it's not available online (after all, they get plenty of crazy stuff when nobody knows they are coming).

So, I decided to go a different route and asked Google corporate if I could go for a ride along in one of their cars. No luck there either.

"We unfortunately aren't able to provide interviews or ride alongs with our drivers in Salt Lake City because they work for us on a short-term basis," Google management told me.

And it could be really short term: In the future, Google may not even use drivers. The New York Times recently reported that Google is considering making their own driverless cars.

As for tracking the cars with drivers, your best option is social media and tweets. People have made it a hobby to stalk the Google car.

In the meantime, if anyone knows this guy, let me know.

E-mail: sfidel@ksl.com

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Steve Fidel

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