Google Street View: what is Driving Mode

With Driving Mode you can contribute to the growth of Google Street View, even without having a spherical camera and without privacy issues.

Google is testing a new feature in the Street View Android app: Driving Mode. The new feature has already reached some American users, who have tried it and have already highlighted its merits and demerits.

The Driving Mode, in fact, is a function that already existed in recent years but was removed by Google for privacy issues: it consists in the ability to use your smartphone as a dashcam, record a video while driving, walking or cycling, and then upload it through the Street View app to submit it to Google. In this way they can enter into Street View (and therefore in Google Maps) even routes where Google Cars have not arrived: for example some minor deserts and different areas of Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia. At the moment it is possible to add videos to Google Street View only using a certified spherical camera.

Driving Mode of Street View: how it works

From the first sightings witnessed on Reddit the use of Driving Mode would seem very simple, at least in the recording phase: just open the main menu of the app and the function is there waiting for us, identified with a camera icon.

After tapping on that icon appears at the bottom of the smartphone screen the button to start or stop recording. Of course, the Street View app must have access to geolocation in order to match the recorded images to the precise geographical coordinates.

The not-so-functional part of Driving Mode seems to be the next one: uploading the recorded video. The video is actually saved in the app's private folder, and users who are testing the feature suggest uploading videos one by one to prevent the app from crashing.

Sometimes, then, you need to verify that the video is actually displayed after uploading, otherwise it's likely that the upload will fail. In that case, users recommend closing the app and restarting it.

Driving Mode: when it arrives on Street View

As you can easily guess, then, Driving Mode on Street View is far from a feature ready for the general public: it still needs a lot of refinement. The great thing about Driving Mode is that it allows anyone, even those who don't have an expensive spherical camera, to upload their videos to Street View.

The privacy problem that forced Google to remove a similar feature from the app years ago seems to have been solved: the one arising from the faces framed during the shooting. With the new Driving Mode, in fact, faces are automatically detected and blurred thanks to artificial intelligence algorithms.