It’s no hyperbole to say that Google is literally everyone these days. The Menlo Park, California-based search giant is already a dominant player in the areas of email, internet advertising, and mobile technology. It has now begun to offer cable and high-speed internet. And it builds driverless cars and operates a secret lab devoted to developing the mass technologies of the future.
On an even more literal level, however, the Google Street View program has circumvented the globe multiple times in an effort to take a picture of every street in the world. In the past couple years the program has added museum and shopping mall interiors, parks and university campuses, and tours of some of the most inaccessible places on Earth – including Antarctica and the Amazon River.
Now, first the first time, Google has announced plans to dive below the surface – literally – and capture the world’s last truly unexplored frontier: the ocean. Google is collaborating with the University of Queensland and the Underwater Earth organization to bring Street View to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. This will be done by sending a specially-designed camera 100 feet down into the water, where it will take around 50,000 panoramic images of the reefs, the vegetation, and the animal life. Those images will then be stitched together and uploaded online.
In conducting this project, Google and its collaborating institutions hope to bring attention to reef deterioration and build a model to track such deterioration over time. It is hoped that the images will provide the first data points for a long-term study of the health and vitality of the Great Barrier Reef area. Of course, Google is also hoping to draw even more people to its already-popular Street View application, in the process bringing the company more advertising money and more end-users who may want to purchase advanced sets of imagery.
After the filming of the Great Barrier Reef is complete, Google plans to start bringing its underwater camera to other reef sites and notable coastal areas around the world, with the ultimate goal of covering the ocean almost as well as it currently covers the land.
The project is expect to begin filming this summer.