Google is known around the world for its technological innovation. Google has redefined internet searches, given us a new, high speed browser (Chrome), and created those creepy, all powerful Google Glass things.
But sometimes even the most high-tech companies can be stumped as they try to solve the next big tech problem.
A couple of years ago, Google was working to bring street views to its applications, Google Earth and Google Maps. It hired big, strong humans to carry its signature Trekker camera. They would hoist the camera up and take a slow, panoramic view all around.
They even offered to loan the cameras to professional photographers, travelers and tourism groups. The idea was to bring those beautifully detailed 360 degree views to the public. The more such views they had, the better they’d be received by the public.
It was all a very good idea and was pretty successful. That is, until the company realized that they weren’t always able to get the best view using people to hold the camera. When they wanted to get a full panoramic view of Abu Dhabi’s Liwa oasis, and its beautifully shifting sands, they decided to go for a low tech option.
They hired a camel named Raffia to do the job. A Google spokesperson said,
With every environment and every location, we try to customize the capture and how we do it for that part of the environment. In the case of Liwa we fashioned it in a way so that it goes on a camel so that it can capture imagery in the best, most authentic and least damaging way.”
Liwa is an Oasis in the south of Abu Dhabi. It has some of the biggest, most spectacular sand dunes on earth. A perfect spot for one of Google’s 360 degree shots.
Google Street View has been operating since 2007. It hosts a gallery of exceptional 360 degree views. In fact, on a cold, rainy February morning in New England, a person could waste several hours watching views of the oceans, Pacific Islands and tropic rainforests.
While the camel hiring may have been an unusual event, it isn’t the only strange thing to have happened on the project. On a few occasions, pranksters have seen the big Trekker camera approaching and have set up hoaxes.
One view seemingly captured an ax murder which turned out to be all in fun. Another caught a naked man climbing out of the trunk of a car and still another captured what appeared to be a woman giving birth on the roadside.
If you don’t have a chance to travel the world, you can see almost everything you’d want to see on Google Street View. You can even search your own address for added entertainment.
Featured image via YouTube Screengrab