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How To Put Google Street View To Practical Use

Google Street View can scope out real estate, travel destinations, and even save you from your next parking ticket -- all from your desktop, laptop, or smartphone browser.

Google Street View is the closest thing to teleportation that you can find outside the starship Enterprise. Using Street View, you can click on Google Maps and see panoramic photos taken on the ground on streets in 33 American cities. It combines the convenience of standing in the street and looking around with the comfort of not being hit by truck.

The tool lets you move your position back and forth on the map, to simulate walking up and down the street, or you can click elsewhere on the map and instantly be thousands of miles away.

Google Street View is one of the many ways to procrastinate on the Internet. You can easily find yourself bleary-eyed at 4 in the morning virtually cruising the streets of Schenectady, for no other reason than pure curiosity.

But Google Street View is also a practical tool for making life easier. Here are five ways you can use Google Street View to improve your productivity -- plus, as an added bonus, tips for wasting all that time you saved by checking out fun things to see.

How To Use Google Street View

If Google Street View is available, streets will be outlined in blue.
(click for image gallery)

If you're already familiar with Google Street View, skip over this section and go to our first tip. If you don't know how to use Google Street View, read on to get filled in.

Like most Google services, it's easy to figure out.

  1. First, go to Google Maps. Enter an address in the search box.
  2. When you've found the location you're looking for, click the box marked "Street View" at the top right corner of the map
  3. If Street View is available in the area you're looking at, streets where the service is available will be outlined in blue. You'll also see a little yellow icon of a man at the address you've selected.
  4. To call up Street View, click the yellow icon. If Street View is available at that location, an image will pop up.
  5. To navigate, drag the icon, or click in the Street View image popup and use your computer's arrow keys.
  6. To link to or embed a specific Street View image, click the "Link to this page" link at the top right of the map.
  7. You'll get a popup with snippets of code. You can cut-and-paste the code, to either link directly to the map, or to embed a map, with a Street View image, in your own page on the Web. We've done both in this article.

Now that you know how to use Street View, read on to learn what it can do for you.

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