Free app: Google Street View

Take a journey around the world, all from the comfort of your Android device

Google Street View

Google Street View

We just had the trip of a lifetime. First we explored the canals of Venice, then we hiked up to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, swam with the fish just off the Great Barrier Reef and looked around an old Royal Navy submarine. And all in a day without leaving our chairs!

Previously a companion app for Google Maps, Street View is now a fully fledged app of its own that’s designed to show off the countless 360-degree ‘photo spheres’ captured by Google. As well as exterior scenes, these include interiors of certain buildings, such as museums and galleries.

Scroll around the world map and you’ll see lots of red dots, each representing a photo sphere; zoom in for even more or just search for a location. Wherever you’re looking, the bottom panel can be swiped up to show previews of spheres taken in that area, so it’s easy to find what you’re after. In addition, a Collections tab shows themed collections, such as art projects or oceans. One slight flaw is the inability to search for a particular collection, so you have to scroll through them.

When a photo sphere is selected, you can either swipe around the view or use the compass option to rotate it as you turn the device – it’s almost like being there, although there is a slight wait as it renders the image fully. You can swipe the bottom panel left or right to quickly switch to another sphere in the area or collection, so it’s great for random browsing and could keep you entertained for hours.

Fancy taking your own photo spheres? There’s an option to do just that with your camera (if the device supports it), by panning round the scene. For better results, you can buy a 360-degree camera to attach, although they’re pretty pricey.