YOU SAID IT

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - cshan­non@cb­post.com BY CHRIS SHAN­NON

“Any­thing Google can work with us on, be it a di­rect re­la­tion­ship or in­di­rect re­la­tion­ship, it only works to our ad­van­tage.”

SYD­NEY — Vis­i­tors and res­i­dents can view Cape Bre­ton land­scapes and land­marks from a new per­spec­tive ac­ces­si­ble at the click of a mouse.

Google, the world’s most pop­u­lar In­ter­net search en­gine, ex­tended its Street View ap­pli­ca­tion to more than 150 com­mu­ni­ties across Canada Tues­day, and that in­cluded many streetscapes across the is­land.

Street View pro­vides a 360de­gree ground-level view of com­mu­ni­ties, com­piled from pho­tos taken by Google em­ploy­ees in ve­hi­cles mounted with spe­cial­ized multi-cam­era GPS tech­nol­ogy.

The com­pany, which has been col­lect­ing im­ages of Cana­dian cities since 2007, spent last sum­mer driv­ing through sev­eral of the main ar­te­rial streets in Syd­ney, Glace Bay and Port Hawkes­bury, as well as around the Cabot Trail, Isle Madame and through Eska­soni.

But smaller com­mu­ni­ties such as Iona, Skye Glen and Gabarus were also mapped by Google.

“Any­thing Google can work with us on, be it a di­rect re­la­tion­ship or in­di­rect re­la­tion­ship, it only works to our ad­van­tage,” said Des­ti­na­tion Cape Bre­ton As­so­ci­a­tion CEO Mary Tulle.

“Any ad­di­tional pro­file they can give to us as a re­gion, as a com­mu­nity, re­ally only en­hances our op­por­tu­ni­ties to cap­i­tal­ize on that and build around that.”

The ser­vice first launched in the United States in 2007. It’s now avail­able in more than 250 cities around the world and cov­ers most of in­hab­ited North Amer­ica, with the ex­cep­tion of Labrador and Nu­navut.

Tulle said it’s a new tool that tourism op­er­a­tors will have to pro­mote them­selves.

“Re­gard­less of what the prod­uct is, or the lo­ca­tion or the tool, that’s where we have the op­por­tu­nity to delve into that a lit­tle bit deeper to see how we can cap­i­tal­ize on en­hanc­ing that pro­file.”

Syd­ney and Area Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Joyce MacDougall added that she hoped it would change some peo­ple’s im­pres­sions of the area.

“(Those) who have vis­ited or left maybe 25-30 years ago, and things have changed con­sid­er­ably since that time,” MacDougall said.

“ If you look at the ( fa­cade pro­grams) done in down­town Syd­ney, and in other ar­eas like Louis­bourg and Glace Bay, the down­town looks far bet­ter than it did even 10 years ago.”

Many peo­ple re­act­ing to the new gad­get on the Cape Bre­ton Post’s Face­book site were amazed at its us­abil­ity and clar­ity of im­ages.

“I love it. I took a walk in New Water­ford to­day without go­ing home,” posted Adele Wil­liamson Tay­lor.

Yet oth­ers warned that “Big Brother” was watch­ing.

In an at­tempt to al­lay pri­vacy con­cerns, Google blurred peo­ple’s faces and li­cence plates to com­ply with rules set out by the Cana­dian Pri­vacy Com­mis­sioner.

“It is kind of creepy but yet it is also pretty cool,” Cather­ine Hill said.

And Jo­lene Camp­bell said Google didn’t in­clude many res­i­den­tial ar­eas like Curry Street or Tometary Drive in Howie Cen­tre.

It also misses large sec­tions of down­town Syd­ney on Char­lotte and Ge­orge streets, it hits only a few of the streets in New Water­ford and it by­passes Cat­alone and Main-a-Dieu com­pletely.

It only of­fers a dis­tant glimpse of the Fortress of Louis­bourg and there’s no view of the Keltic Lodge avail­able.

Google Canada’s manag­ing di­rec­tor Jonathan Lis­ter said in a state­ment that Street View will hope­fully “ boost tourism, her­itage, real es­tate, ed­u­ca­tion and everyday dis­cov­ery.”

The street-level view can be ac­cessed from Google Maps by click­ing on the small or­ange fig­ure that ap­pears above the zoom con­trol and drop­ping it on the map.

Last year Google cap­tured im­ages of the venues which will soon be in use at the 2010 Win­ter Olympic Games in Van­cou­ver and Whistler us­ing a snow­mo­bile to map out ski runs as well as var­i­ous other Olympic venues.

Sub­mit­ted by Google

Google Street View added streetscape im­ages such as this one on the Es­planade in Syd­ney to more than 150 com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try, Tues­day.

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