The past 15 years of Google Maps have been an incredible journey, and Street View has been along for much of the ride. To celebrate Google Maps turning 15, we’re sharing a list of our 15 favorite Street Views from over the years.
Street View started as a project to help people explore different places from their computers, and launched in 2007 with the quirkiest product launch video ever. Today, Street View has become a key part of how we map the world in more than 220 countries and territories.
Of the 170 billion Street View images we’ve collected, these are some of our favorites. They transport people to amazing places, foster cultural awareness, encourage conservation and make our planet more accessible to all. Take a look and enjoy the view with us.
1. Scale Yosemite’s El Capitan with a famous climber
Go mountaineering in Yosemite without having to take a 3,000-foot climb up El Capitan. Some people did incur risk to bring you up the wall, but trust us, they’re professionals.
2. Float through the International Space Station in Space View
All but one of our Street View image collections have something in common: gravity. But with the right stuff and a collaboration with NASA, we were able to overcome truly unique obstacles to bring everyone a taste of what it’s like to be an astronaut.
How do you spend a bone-chilling winter in Mongolia? By going outside and having a festival on an ancient frozen lake, of course! We took Street View to the party and hopped on a horse-drawn sleigh for the sweetest of rides across a glacial playground.
4. Climb the monarch of mountains: Mont Blanc in the Alps
If you’re ready for dramatic views of snow-tipped mountain tops, take a journey 16,000 feet up Mont Blanc. We partnered with world-renowned alpine photographers, skiers, mountaineers, climbers and runners to collect Street View of Western Europe’s highest peak so that you can run on a summit, ice climb up a serac and ski knee-deep in some of the best powder on Earth.
5. Take in Tokyo’s cherry blossom season
Japan’s sakura, or cherry blossom season is world famous. Take a casual stroll with Street View during Tokyo’s spring time and be sure to look left to catch a glimpse of the famous Zōjō-ji Temple, located in the Shibakoen neighborhood near Tokyo Tower.
Let your jaw drop as you enter the main chamber of La Sagrada Familia. This might be your only chance to witness the church’s famous tree-like columns, shimmering lights and vertigo-inspiring views without having to join a herd of gawking visitors.
7. Scuttle with crabby company on Christmas Island
Head over to Christmas Island, a remote tropical territory of Australia, to shellebrate the island’s annual red crab migration. Along with a sweeping sunset view you can see millions of crabs march from the forest and right into the sea.
See architectural styles from Muslim civilizations in the Sheikj Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world’s largest. Able to accommodate 40,000 worshippers, the mosque has an open-door policy, inviting visitors from around the world to see its intricate domes, reflective pools and mesmerizing prayer hall.
9. Drift with the Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland
Feel the chill as you peer at Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord, where a glacial ice cap meets the ocean. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004, it’s imagery like this that reminds us both of our planet’s beauty and of how climate change is impacting the natural world.
10. Meet the world’s only flightless parrot: the endangered kākāpō
Virtually step into the home of the kākāpō and explore prehistoric New Zealand just as it was millions of years before the first boat ever landed on its shores. Join Street View on an exclusive tour of windswept sanctuaries and pristine reserves that are off-limits to visitors.
11. Cruise through the Amazon on the Rio Negro River
With Street View, you can ferry down the Rio Negro River and see images taken across more than 30 miles of remote and diverse shore, forest and village.
12. Visit the floating homes of the Uros in Lake Titicaca
Cultures, countries and climates may differ, but we all have a place to call home. See how the Uros people of Lake Titicaca in Peru make their homes on floating reed islands that entire villages rest on top of.
Whether you suffer from crippling vertigo or just haven’t had the chance to see the iconic Eiffel Tower, Street View has you covered. You can take a tour of the top of Paris right from home, catching a glimpse of attractions like the Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre and the river Seine.
You don’t have to travel to the most northern corners of the world to see the natural phenomenon that is the Northern Lights. It took our team six nights in the snow before finally being able to capture the elusive Aurora Borealis on the frozen Pitkäjärvi Lake in Finland.
15. Meander through Machu Picchu
After waiting years to secure permission to collect imagery from this world wonder, we methodically zig-zagged through the ancient site’s terraces and temples with Google Arts & Culture over seven days to make this world heritage site accessible to all.