How to Use Google Maps Street View

Get Started With Google Street View

Street View
Photo © PeopleImages / Getty Images

Street View is a location-based service offered by Google that allows users to see real life imagery 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 imagery.

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

Using this special camera, Google maps out areas so that users of Google Maps, Google Earth and of course Google Street View itself will be able to actually see a location on the map. 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 allows you to walk down any street by using the arrows to navigate and move your position. While not quite as practical as finding visual cues for a destination, it is certainly a lot of fun.

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 your own street. But there's nothing stopping you from choosing a friend's address and walking down their street!

Search a Location in Google Maps and Zoom Right In

Google Street View
Screenshot of Google Maps

The first thing you'll want to do is type an address or location name into Google Maps and then use the plus and minus buttons in the lower right corner of your screen to zoom in as closely as you can (ideally until you see the name of the street or location appear). You can do this by manually entering the address into the search bar or using drag-and-drop to manipulate the map.

If you're unfamiliar with Google Maps, you can review instructions on navigating Google Mapa here.

Hint: You can also use your mouse's scroll wheel to zoom in and out.

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

Google Street View
Screenshot of Google Maps

To see which areas of the address or location you've searched for are available in Street View imagery, 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 will need to look somewhere else. 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.

Use the Arrows 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 the location by moving through the 360-degree imagery. To do this, you'll need to find the navigation arrows that appear on the imagery.

Hover your mouse over the road or walkway until arrows appear. Click on the arrow to move in that direction.

Recommended: 10 of the Best Places to Visit on Google Street View

Turn Around to Head in the Right Direction

Google Street View
Screenshot of Google Street View

It's great to use the arrows to move forward and back, but what about turning around? Sometimes Street View places you in the wrong direction you intended to go.

This is where the 360-degree imagery effect really shines. All you have to do is click on the screen and drag it around to move your view.

Even if you don't need to move up or down the road, the benefit of the 360-degree imagery is that you get a full look at your surroundings almost as if you were standing right there in person. If something isn't quite in view, all you have to do is drag that image around to get a better look.

Zoom In With Street View

Google Street View
Screenshot of Google Street View

If you want to get a closer look at something specific, you can zoom in using the plus sign button on the lower right navigation menu. Google Street View typically allows your to zoom in twice before you can go any further. 

To zoom out completely, you can just click on the minus button.

Recommended: How Can I Find My House on Google Street View?

Go Back to Google Maps

Google Street View
Screenshot of Google Street View

When you're all done exploring any location with Street View, you can always go back to Google Maps by clicking the little horizontal "back" arrow in the top left corner. You can also click the little location pin to see the location coordinates, the view in Google Maps and a number of options to save or share the location.

Get the Google Street View App

Photo © Getty Images

Did you know that Google made its own Street View mobile apps? These are separate from the Google Maps apps.

Google Street View is available for iOS and Android devices. You can use the app to explore new places just like you do on the desktop web.

You can also use the apps to create collections, set up a profile and contribute your own 360-degree imagery with your device's camera (if compatible). If you loved Street View on the regular, you'll love it even more when you take it out on the road with you!

Next recommended article: 25 of the Weirdest Things Caught on Google Street View

Updated by: Elise Moreau

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