Google is working 24/7 to improve Google Maps and cover more and more regions of the planet, and cars equipped by the search giant with 360-degree cameras are almost everywhere you look these days.
But on the other hand, the Mountain View firm has apparently figured out that no matter how much it tries, it’d still be impossible to map the entire world and keep it up-to-date, unless it receives help from its most valuable asset: the always-expanded Google Maps userbase.
So in the last update of the Google Street View app, the company has added a new Driving Mode that allows users to just activate their phone’s camera to record a journey and thus help improve both Google Maps and the imagery available on Street View.
This isn’t the first time Google allows users to contribute to Google Maps, but previously, the search giant required them to turn to a 360-degree camera for the whole thing.
But thanks to this latest update, the feature becomes available to many more users, simply because a regular phone can be used for the whole thing. As someone on reddit discovered, the data captured with a mobile phone is then automatically processed by Google in the same way its Street View imagery is handled, so faces and license plates are blurred out on upload.
Most likely, Google is already planning in advance, and there’s a chance the company would at one point use the footage uploaded by users to create 360-degree imagery by stitching together content from more phones.
Right now, however, it looks like Google is still experimenting with this new Driving Mode in the Street View app, as the feature is apparently rolling out gradually for users across the world. It’s still nowhere to be seen for me despite running the latest version of the app, and with the company remaining tight-lipped on everything, nobody knows for sure when it’s supposed to go live for everybody.