Our Street View… Before Google Street View

Sausalito, CA

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So how did we get here? Way back in 2006, (one year ahead of Google) we introduced InTownLive and our version of Street View. Our system featured high resolution imagery that was simple to use and navigate. Just drag the scroll bar to move along the street. Back then we also had some nifty extras, which are not shown in this demo. There was a U-Turn button which let you quickly switch to the opposite side of the street. And best yet, when you hovered your cursor over a building it would trigger a pop-up picture of the inside of the store. In addition, we provided a business directory, event calendar, attractions, map, weather forecast, and photo gallery.

When Google Street View was first introduced it was low resolution and moving down the street was slow, jerky, and annoying because the internet was slow, jerky, and annoying. As bandwidth improved over the years, Google’s 360° VR Street View became more tolerable. And because Google had the money and man power to scan the world, we knew our days were numbered.

Our process was both our main advantage and our main drawback. We had a specially equipped vehicle that captured five high resolution images (10 megapixels) per second as we drove through the town. But, each street view image was painstakingly stiched together by hand in Photoshop, which took about 40 hours to complete each super-wide panoramic image. All told, we built and uploaded 50 towns in California.

Here is an example of Bridgeway Street in Sausalito, CA, which we created over a decade ago.

Fast forward to today, and we’ve morphed into Social City Guides, which let users discover the inside scoop about a community based on aggregated social media content. And instead of a mere 50 street views, we currently have 4,000 cities and towns from across the country.