How to hire a Google cam
Start by going to the webpage: www.google.com/streetview/trekker
Here you can fill in a form which covers your details, how long you want the camera for, and how you intend to use it. A typical loan period is 45 days.
The precise wording is as follows: “This program is open to pro photographers, travellers and organisations. It’s also open to others seeking to promote areas of cultural, historical or touristic significance.”
So the more creative you are with your intended use, the better your chances of getting one. It also asks how you will evaluate the success of your project, and what your “PR and marketing strategy” might entail. So the more places you say you will visit, and the bigger the audience you can take your images to, the more likely you are to be accepted.
As to whether you get the Trekker or the 360 eyeball, Google told us it depends on availability and proposed usage. “We can only send Trekkers to a limited number of applicants, who are planning to visit more than five very distinct locations,” a spokeswoman said. “But we offer 360 camera loans to a bigger number of users.”
You don’t have to sign a contract, just agree to Google’s terms and conditions. The hire is free (including postage costs both ways) and the camera is covered by Google’s insurance, although you are liable for any extra insurance needs if you plan to take it overseas during the hire.
Uploading can be sluggish depending on your network speed, but eventually your images will be added to the Google Maps interface.
When the hire is finished, simply package up the camera and send it back to the address supplied. Google doesn’t require you to supply details of what you’ve used the camera for, as it’s likely to be visible on the app anyway.