Google activates ‘Street View’ of major cities, tourist spots in PH

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After launching the “Street View” mapping in January 2014, tech giant Google has officially unveiled ?Street View? in the Philippines with the first batch of images capturing the streets of Greater Manila, major cities and provinces, and special collections of popular tourist spots.

Boxing icon and Saranggani representative Manny Pacquiao doing a demo of the Street View

“Not many people know that we have a lot of eco-tourism wonders in Sarangani and one of the biggest fish ports in the country in General Santos City, that was the venue of the largest display of tuna, now an Official Guinness World Record. Now, they can take a look and plan their next visit. Through this, people can also virtually tour my farm, my beach resorts, or take a glimpse of the Wildcard Gym, where I have fond memories as a boxer,” said Pacquiao.

Google Philippines country manager Ken Lingan and country marketing manager Ryan Morales — who both spent a significant part of their lives abroad — said the initiative will not only help local tourism but also aid returning residents to become familiar with old and new haunts.

“We’re very excited to be unveiling these new 360-degree panoramas of the Philippines today. This new Street View imagery showcases how countries are embracing online tools such as Google Maps as mediums for preserving their heritage and landscapes. With these images, Filipinos and visitors alike can now explore the beauty of the Philippines and share these with their friends and family at home and abroad,” said Lingan.

Morales said mobile phone users can also now upload their panoramic photos through an Android app that can be downloaded for free. “This project is by no means done. This is a continuing initiative ? we will be uploading new images and updating the old ones in the coming months,” he said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT), which coordinated with Google in the mapping project, was represented in the launch event by Tourism Promotions Board chief Domingo Ramon Enerio III.

“By allowing users to see a glimpse of the Philippines from wherever they are, we hope that Google Street View will inspire new visits from people who have not yet experienced the beauty of the country for themselves. And for those who have already been to the Philippines, we hope that this will give them new reasons to explore areas they may not have considered before, encouraging them to visit the Philippines again,” DOT secretary Ramon Jimenez said in a statement.

The new imagery allows anyone with an Internet connection to view 360-degree panoramas of over 30 major metropolitan areas in the Philippines, including Greater Manila and Baguio City, over 30 historic locations like the historic town of Vigan and the Baroque churches of the Philippines and favorite destinations like Mount Pulag and beautiful beaches of Bantigui Island.

With the street-level panoramas, Filipinos can now check out new views of familiar and unfamiliar landscapes, research driving routes, arrange meeting points, and explore their own town more closely.

Google execs said local businesses can also benefit from Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their site. Hotels, for example, can show their prospective guests what the building looks like from the street and provide them with a sense of the surrounding neighborhood.

The new 360-degree digital imagery of the Philippines will also let people around the world experience sites they may never have a chance to experience in person, including iconic locations and vistas across the country, the tech firm said.

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