It’s no secret I’m a lover of way cool technology.
And when it comes to makers of technology I adore, it’s hard to beat Google. In fact, I don’t think you can.
To me Google is akin to a close friend and colleague to whom I can go with almost any question or concern that ails me, and nearly instantly get some kind of answer to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
In fact, my first encounter with Google each day is like taking that first, big gulp of ice cold Coke from a glass bottle you’ve had chilling in the freezer for the last half hour or so.
Ok, I can tell I’m scaring some of you. So let me tame the Google-love a bit and just share with you my recent discovery of a new-ish feature to Google Maps that could be of great value to you as you do your due diligence on real estate deals you’re considering.
It’s called Google Street View and it’s so cool I think I’ve just crossed the line from fan to fanatic.
Google Maps Meets Google Earth
If you’ve been using Google maps over the last few years, then you already know it’s been in ongoing development.
At first is was basically another version of Mapquest. Then they added satellite pictures, terrain, traffic stats, and a flurry of other niceties.
Then came Google earth, and you could not only view your own front yard in disturbingly good detail, but also “grab” a hold of the globe and give it a good, god-like spin or two just for kicks.
Well in the last few months Google’s been bringing it even closer to home by strapping a 360 degree camera to the tops of cars and having them drive up and down the streets of major metropolitan areas, gobbling up images and matching them with GPS coordinates along the way.
These little cars are doing exactly what Google does so well: Gathering mass amounts of detailed data (360 street view images in this case) and making them available to the masses by way of a simple keyword search.
What Value is Google Street View to Real Estate Investors?
Well it may be obvious to some — especially you virtual wholesalers out there. But if not, let me spell it out for you…
If someone calls you with a possible deals, Google Street View can allow you to view the house — or even the entire neighborhood — without setting foot outside.
And in this way, it can be an extremely helpful productivity / efficiency tool.
Google Street View isn’t available everywhere yet — like I said, it’s in the process of being tested in a variety of major metropolitan areas.
But to find out if you’re one of the lucky ones yet, just search for a house on a somewhat major street in your area, and see what your options are. Look for the little “Street View” option among your other choices after you search for an address.
How to See Google Street View in Action Right Now
If you want to play around with it yourself right now, click here and you’ll find yourself sitting smack in the middle of Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Enjoy.
And here’s a really great (and short) video Google himself made (yeah, that’s right. I think Google’s a boy). It’ll really give you a solid idea of the power behind this nifty little innovation…
(A hat tip to the Geek Estate blog for first turning me on to the above video.)
And now that the “OFFICIAL” version from Google is out of the way, here’s another short video I found, revealing…eh… let’s just say it’s a little creepier side of Google Street View you might want to be aware of…