Strangest Sights in Google Street Views
In May 2007 Google began adding Street Views to its Google Maps service for San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Miami, and Denver. Within weeks people starting spotting unusual, interesting, and unexplained street scenes and shared them online. Today, over 200 cities have Street View shots for people to explore, and the number of weird things caught sight of has exploded.
During our trek through Google Maps we found a chicken carcass the size of a large SUV, a car covered in Post-It notes, and what looks like a UFO parked in a back yard. We've collected a few of the oddest and most intriguing sights.
Normally a dismembered female torso lying in overgrown grass behind a seaside warehouse is something for CSI's Horatio Caine to investigate. But see if you can solve this puzzle as Horatio might describe it in one of his famous one-liners: "This is a giant mystery. But what the killer doesn't realize is--we are going to find some giant clues."
A Nice Day for a Walk With That Special Someone
Ah, Paris--a romantic city full of love. (Sound of record scratching...) But this guy spotted carrying a blow-up doll doesn't look like fodder for France's tourist board. Look closely, and you'll notice that nobody is batting eye at either of them. Will anyone look twice when they stop at a cafe?
If Transformers character Megatron snacked on shish kabobs, we imagine they might look like this. The sculpture, by artist Dustin Shuler, is called "Spindle" and can be found in Berwyn, Illinois. Strip-mall parking lots aren't the only place you can look up and see a car. Here is one in a tree in Clinton, Wisconsin, and another suspended from a crane in France.
Jurassic Street View
Dinosaurs are making a break for it in this Street View. The escape is from the Dinosphere exhibit in Indianapolis. The Jurassic breakout is one of many oversized creatures that can be spotted on Street Views such as this dragon in Providence, Rhode Island, or this ladybug spotted crawling up the side of a building in Philadelphia.
Google Goes Off the Grid
Maybe they should call this a River View instead of a Street View. This shot of the Victoria Highway in Australia shows the rugged terrain to expect when driving. And it's not a flash flood either; this is where the highway requires passengers to cross the Victoria River--no bridge included. Take a look at another river crossing--also in Australia, but this time a bit more civilized.
Banned: Too Hot for Street Views
Since it launched Street Views. Google has taken a lot of heat for its service. Many complained about objectionable Street Views images, and in many cases Google has removed the offending pictures.
But because of the miracle of the Internet, those images will never really disappear. Here are a few of the classics. In the upper left-hand corner is a Street View from Australia of a man who should have shut the door before taking care of business. Other banned views here include a raging fire, what appears to be an inebriated man, topless sunbathers, a car trunk that ate a woman, and someone who (we hope) locked himself out of his apartment.
Google most recently removed a series of images that showed a deer hit by the vehicle that captures Street Views for Google. And after the service launched in Great Britain, Google pulled down hundreds of images that people objected to, including one of a man leaving a sex shop and another of a man wearing antlers throwing up outside a pub.
Back to the Future with Futuro
This is not a Street View of a flying saucer parked in a Covington, Kentucky, backyard. Instead it's a Futuro House--an oddly shaped prefabricated house designed by architect Matti Suuronen. According to an entry in Wikipedia, only about 100 of them were built in the 1960s and 1970s. With the help of Google and the Internet, you can virtually drive by dozens of them such as this one in Texas and and another in Florida.
Point and (please don’t) Shoot Street View
Taken out of context, this rifle-toting man sporting a Harley Davidson sweatshirt looks pretty sinister. But who knows, maybe he raises puppies for a living. I wouldn't roll down my window and ask, however.
Where Spiderman Parks His Mini Cooper
You know Batman parks his car in the Bat Cave, but did you know Spiderman parks his Mini Cooper on the street in his Web Garage? Actually we aren't sure, but nevertheless we're still trying to figure out what gives with all the webbing. Anybody spot Spidey somewhere close by on a rooftop?
Unidentified Flying Street View
The Internet and UFOs go together like a can of Crazy String and Syd Barrett--simpatico. So when Google Street View scavengers spotted red saucers hovering above Japan and Sydney, Australia, it was reason open an X-File.
When Google was asked about the flying saucers caught on Street Views, a spokesman quipped "The interplanetary Internet project is clearly gaining momentum quicker than we thought!"
Virtual Drive-By Tourist
Ever think less of tourists who don't bother to get out of their car when visiting landmarks? Now you can be one of them. Google Street Views lets you be a drive-by virtual tourist at some pretty impressive places such as the Roman Coliseum in Italy, the Eiffel Tower in France, or even Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
Jimmy Punches Tommy
One of these kids may have denied getting into a fight on the way home from school. But Street Views don't lie. As soon as mom and dad start exploring their neighborhood on Google Maps, they are in for a big surprise.
Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper
When Darth Vader isn't building Death Stars and palling around with Sith Lords, he apparently kills time wandering around Los Angeles. A Google Street View paparazzo spotted him with a storm trooper--posing for pictures? Hitchhiking? Or just checking out the stars on Hollywood Boulevard like any other tourist? Hard to say until Google gets a better camera!
Creepy Street View
One look at this guy sitting on the side of the road in Rue Polonceau, in Paris, France, and we can definitely say we wouldn't want to slow down to take his picture. We have no idea why this person is dressed the way he is, or why he is sitting on a folding chair in the middle of busy sidewalk. We can tell nobody wants to get too close.
What in Tarnation Is That Thing?
We can imagine that spotting the Google Street View car can be confounding with its odd camera strapped to the top. In this Street View from Blakely, Georgia, it appears someone is trying to get a closer look to see if it's a camera or some new car accessory that allows you to transport into a different dimension. Similar Street View close-ups we've spotted --we are guessing--are of the actual drivers cleaning or checking on the camera lenses.
(Note: Since we discovered this head-scratching moment, Google has removed the image. Dagnabit! )
The Google Street Views Version of the TV Show COPS
What Lurks Above
Finding airplanes in Google Earth has become a near-obsession with aviation buffs. In Google Street View the obsession continues on a more down-to-earth scale. Here we see an airplane flying above Airway Heights, Washington. But why stop there? Here is another. And looking up doesn't mean spotting just airplanes, as this Street View proves, and this one.
The roads can get pretty treacherous in Western Australia, and sometimes you need to make a pit stop even when you can't find a Jiffy Lube. Here in Paraburdoo you can see there aren't too many options. It appears the Google Street View's automobile is getting some work done at a local garage that looks like a scene ripped out of the Duke of Hazzard TV show. I can hear Cooter now saying, "I'll git 'er done right away."
A Street With a View
We've been punk'd by Google. If you've run across these Street Views thinking you've just stumbled upon Twilight Zone Lane, you are not alone. But these Street Views are fake and were created in May 2008 by artists Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley, who invited Google to capture an elaborate staged scene in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Participants from around the city staged scenes ranging from a parade, a garage band practice, a seventeenth-century sword fight, a marathon, a heroic rescue, and more. The Street View project was named aptly A Street With a View. Follow the link to view all Street Views that are part of the project.
Wedding Vows and Views
Wedding photographers can cost big bucks. Perhaps that's why this wedding party looks as if it posed for Google in this Street View from New York, New York. Wedding photography seems to be yet another new Google feature judging from the other matrimonial Street Views we've spotted, including this one in France taken in front of a beautiful church, and this one from the UK.
Where There's Smoke, There's a Fire
When a house in the neighborhood catches fire, crowds quickly form. When a fire is captured in a Google Street View, the entire world crowds. This fire happened in Cleveland, Ohio and was captured by Google Street Views. Plenty of other fires have been spotted on Street Views but have been removed. You can still find a few here and there.