Even smarter Street View navigation: single click to go (anywhere!)

Last year we introduced Smart Navigation to Street View, which allowed you to jump to a new panorama just by double-clicking on a place or object. Now you can quickly navigate to those images with just a single click.

For those of you who haven’t used this click-to-go feature before, notice that as you move your mouse around in a street view panorama, a disk or rectangle follows the cursor (what we call the “pancake”). This pancake not only makes the panorama feel three-dimensional, but shows you where you can jump to a new panorama to get a different view. For instance, let’s say you’re checking out the town of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico because you read about the large community of artists and writers living there. You can get a closer look at the Parish of San Miguel by clicking on the pancake and navigating around the church.

A few more clicks will take you through the colorful neighboring streets. Through your virtual exploration, you can see a restaurant in the distance behind the below rectangular pancake:

With a single click on the pancake, you’re transported right in front of that location and the pancake reappears – this time with a magnifying glass. This means you can zoom in to get an even closer view:

To read the menu at “El Infierno” and see what kind of food they may have, the single click to zoom also applies here. We’ve also made it easier to zoom out. Once you’ve zoomed in all the way, the magnifying glass changes from a plus sign to a minus sign, signifying that the next click will zoom all the way out.

QUE VIVA single click navigation!

Posted by Daniel Filip, Senior Staff Engineer

Voice Search in underrepresented languages


Today we’re introducing Voice Search support for Zulu and Afrikaans, as well as South African-accented English. The addition of Zulu in particular represents our first effort in building Voice Search for underrepresented languages. We define underrepresented languages as those which, while spoken by millions, have little presence in electronic and physical media, e.g., webpages, newspapers and magazines.

We believe that the speech research community needs to start working on many of these underrepresented languages to advance progress and build speech recognition, translation and other Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies. The development of NLP technologies in these languages is critical for enabling information access for everybody. Indeed, these technologies have the potential to break language barriers.

Check out the Google Research Blog for more details.

Salani kahle!**

* “Welcome” in Afrikaans
** “Stay well” in Zulu

Posted by Pedro J. Moreno, Staff Research Scientist and Johan Schalkwyk, Senior Staff Engineer