It has taken six years, but the secrets of Venice's watery back alleys have finally been added to Google Street View. Google was unable to take their camera car to some of the narrow and winding back streets of Venice. Instead they used physically fit technicians to walk Venice's alleys wearing a backpack-mounted camera. In April two sturdy Google employees were each sent carrying a 4ft tall, 40lb backpack and camera which resembles an insect's eye and sticks above the wearer's head. The cameras' 15-angle lenses takes a picture every 2.5 seconds which can be merged into a 360degree view.
Google has already added the Antarctic, the inside of the White House and the Great Barrier Reef (underwater) to Street View, which was launched in 2007, but a spokesman said Venice was considered a feather in its cap. Google has previously used a tricycle-mounted camera to shoot inside parks and a trolley to get inside museums, but both methods were no good at scaling the steps over the bridges crossing Venice's canals. The backpack device, known as the trekker, has been used on Grand Canyon hiking paths in the US, the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai and inside the Alhambra palace in southern Spain.
The images from Venice should be online by the end of the year, said Evans. Google is also planning to snap Venice from a boat as the vessel plies the city's canals, a service which has been dubbed "Google gondola".