Google Sightseeing Turns Four

Monday, 6th April 2009 by

Unbelievable, but today is the 4th anniversary of the launch of Google Sightseeing! We shan’t bore you with a potted history – instead we’re revisiting a couple of sights from this day in 2005 to see how things have changed.

Back in 2005, Google Maps’ satellite imagery was barely 24 hours old, and restricted to North America, when we linked to our very first sight – this Mickey Mouse-shaped lake at Disney World, Florida. Interestingly, other than a change in the projection of the images1 (which stopped everything looking squished), the imagery here hasn’t been updated since then.

In a poor reflection on our imaginations back in 2005, the second sight we posted was even more stereotypically “American”. We think we’ve come a long way since we posted The Hollywood sign, as the entire post simply consisted of the words:

Only just legible, but very cool, the Hollywood sign. Now I don’t need to go there to see it.

The imagery may have been updated since then2 (and we’ve gotten a lot more wordy), but the sign never really changes much. However, thanks to Google Street View, we can now get an even better view from the ground.3

Google Sightseeing has come a long way since 2005, and we’re very much looking forward to improving and expanding the site even further in the future. Later this week we’ll be announcing the results of our recruitment drive from a few weeks ago, so there’s going to be lots of new Google Sightseeing to be done over the next four years.

Thanks for reading.

  1. From plate carrée to Mercator projection

  2. Three times since then – all of which can be seen using Google Earth’s new historical imagery feature, which also features images of the sign dating all the way back to 1989! 

  3. Of course, sights like The Mickey Pond are still best seen from Google’s classic “top-down” view, and gain nothing from a Street View