Google unveils new underwater ‘street views’

According to Google, you don’t need to know how to swim or be a scuba diver to dive into and explore the stunning views of world’s six most astonishing living coral reefs. As part of its most recent update, the search giant released a collection of forty new ‘special street view’ images.

Having teamed up with ‘The Catlin Seaview Survey’, Google has unveiled the images of the reefs as a part of the Street View feature of Google Maps. The sophisticated camera used by The Catlin Seaview Survey was SVII which is a specially designed underwater camera to capture the stunning images.

The announcement came after Google’s annual I/O event which took place more than a week ago. Close to World Oceans Day on June 8, Google spread the message of being committed to preserving the ocean in the wake of global warming, pollution and climate change. The company released new underwater images of 40 locations around the world in partnership with Catlin Seaview Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Chagos Conservation Trust.

Google Street View

Street views of the Bahamas, the Pacific coral reefs and beaches in Bali are a few stunning locations among the 40 worldwide underwater sites that Google released recently.

Google says that this new feature will not only enable and encourage users to explore the deep waters of the oceans, but also understand and monitor the changes which the ocean waters are being subject to and ways to preserve them. The official blog of the company says “We hope the release of this imagery inspires people to learn more about this precious natural resource”. It is a part of the project Google Earth Outreach which began in 2012 to monitor the conditions of Earth’s most incredible habitats.

There is a baseline which is set to closely observe the changes occurring in the ocean due to factors like climate change. This baseline is formed by GPS- located digital record of the coastal and underwater environments. Google says that the threats these ecosystems face including rising temperatures of ocean waters and destructive storms within the reef will also be visible by using the street view feature of underwater images.

The company boasts the features by stating: “ With just one click, you can swim underwater alongside some of the most wondrous and exotic creatures, including a sea turtle in the Solomon Islands, humpback whales in the Cook Islands, great white sharks in Australia, and the huge and mysterious sunfish (Mola mola) in Bali.”

Apart from the Street View imagery, Google is also planning to develop Global Fishing Watch to produce the first public and interactive view of global level industrial fishing to ensure better dissemination of information regarding sustainable practices and management policies by governments, sea food industry and research institutes.