Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land and a former U.K. resident, says Europeans and Asians have objected to Street View simply because it arrived with a bang. "Here, it just happened," he says, "but there, it came across as a Google invasion."
The addition of biking and hiking trails to Street View is a smooth marketing move, he says. "I see Google saying, 'You're freaked out by Street View, well, look at this. What's not to like about biking and hiking trails?' It makes the whole project now seem warm and fuzzy."
Ratner's trike is a modified three-wheeled bike, like the ones used to take tourists for a spin, with a huge antenna and camera on back. It looks so different from a normal bike that when people see him, they ask, " 'Is that a Google robot?' " Ratner says.
Meanwhile, what's next? Street View images from boats?
"Don't laugh, we've actually gotten various inquiries from people who operate boats," Chau says. "There are no current plans, but we'd love to do it."
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