How to Use Google Maps Street View

1
What Is Google Street View?

Street View
Photo © PeopleImages / Getty Images

Part of Google Maps, Street View is a location-based service offered by Google that lets you see real life images of places around the world. If you're lucky, you might catch one of the Street View cars with the Google logo and funky looking camera on top driving around your town or city to update the photos.

One of the most amazing things about Google Maps is that the imagery is of such high quality that you feel like you're standing right there at that very spot. This is because the Street View vehicle takes photographs with an Immersive Media camera that delivers a 360-degree picture of the surroundings.

Using this special camera, Google maps out these areas so that its users can them in a semi-real-life panoramic way. This is great if you're unfamiliar with your destination and want to find some visual landmarks.

Another great use of Street View is that it lets you walk down any street using just your mouse. There might not be much practical purpose for walking random streets on Google Maps but it's certainly a lot of fun!

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Note: Not all areas have been mapped on Street View, so if you live in a rural area, you might not be able to walk down even your own street. However, there are plenty of popular and even completely random places that you can enjoy on Street View, as well as several weird things caught with the Street View camera.

2
Search a Location in Google Maps and Zoom In

Google Street View
Screenshot of Google Maps

Start by searching for a location name or specific address.

Then, use your mouse's scroll wheel or the plus and minus buttons in the lower right corner of the map to zoom in as close as you can to the road, ideally until you see the name of the street or building.

Drag the map around with your mouse if you're not zooming to the specific place you want to be.

Note: See How to Use Google Maps for more help.

3
Click the Pegman to See What's Available on Street View

Google Street View
Screenshot of Google Maps

To see which streets are available for Street View in the given area that you're zoomed up to, click on the little yellow Pegman icon in the lower right corner of the screen. This should highlight some streets on your map in blue, which designates that the road has been mapped for Street View.

If your road is not highlighted in blue, you'll need to look elsewhere. You can find other places nearby by using your mouse to drag the map around, or you can simply search for another location.

Click on any part of the blue line in the exact location of your choice. Google Maps will then magically transform into Google Street View as it zooms in to the area.

Note: A quick way to jump right into Street View without highlighting the roads is to drag the Pegman directly onto a street.

4
Use the Arrows or Mouse to Navigate the Area

Google Street View
Screenshot of Google Street View

Now that you've been fully immersed in Street View for the location of your choice, you can explore it by moving through the 360-degree images.

To do this, just use the arrow keys on your keyboard, which let you move forward and backward as well as turn around. To zoom up on something, hit the minus or plus keys.

Another way is to use your mouse to find the on-screen arrows that let you move up and down the street. To turn around with your mouse, drag the screen left and right. To zoom, just use the scroll wheel.

5
Find More Options in Street View

Google Street View
Screenshot of Google Street View

When you're finished exploring Street View, you can always go back to Google Maps for an overhead view again. To do that, just hit the small horizontal back arrow or the red location pin on the top left corner.

If you hit the regular map on the bottom of the screen, you can turn half the screen into Street View and the other half into a regular overhead view, which makes it a lot easier to navigate to nearby roads.

To share the exact same Street View perspective you're in, use the small menu button on the top left.

Below that share menu is another option that lets you see that Street View area from an older point of time. Drag the time bar left and right to quickly see how that scenery has changed over the years!

6
Get the Google Street View App

Photo © Getty Images

Google has regular Google Maps apps for mobile devices but they also make a dedicated Street View app to peer down streets and other fun places using nothing but your phone.

Google Street View is available for iOS and Android devices. You can use the app to explore new places just like you can from a computer.

You can also use the Google Street View app to create collections, set up a profile and contribute your own 360-degree images with your device's camera (if compatible).