Google Street View explores Santa Clara University


A van roamed the streets around the 110 acre campus Thursday afternoon. But it took pedal power and a camera mounted on a tricycle to photograph the interior of the university.

"I actually thought it was pretty cool cause I always wondered how they get all the pictures they get," campus visitor Alana Presley said.

We were only allowed to shoot the equipment and operations from a distance. Mounted cameras capture 360 degree views at street level.

A Santa Clara University alum, who is now a Google employee, first proposed the partnership. An agreement to get the cameras rolling came together in a matter of weeks. The university says the panoramic views of its Mission, rose garden, and other features will be an enormous marketing tool.

"We're really excited to be able get Santa Clara on the map with them and be able to promote it to other people that maybe can't come to the campus and see it in person," SCU technology manager Marissa Pimentel said.

Google launched Street View in 2006, offering users a way to click on a map and instantly get a virtual tour of that location. Students we talked to didn't seem concerned with privacy issues.

"A lot of times Google blurs out faces so I don't think that's going to be a problem," SCU student Erik Chang said.

The company says it will use software which automatically blurs out faces and license plates. Despite some controversy, SCU is part of a growing list of people and agencies embracing the technology. This includes NASA, which recently approved 6,000 street view photos of its facilities.

"I have used it before and I think it's a really neat feature. Kinda gives you an idea of what you're going to be visiting or moving to before you actually get there," campus visitor Maureen Nagle said.

The pictures taken Thursday should be online in the next couple months.

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