New platform adds sounds to Google Street View
A screengrab of Sounds of Street View is pictured. (Photo from Sounds of Street View)
Published Tuesday, August 19, 2014 1:33PM EDT
Google Street View may be good at capturing the sights of a place, but what about the sound? That’s where British hearing specialists have come in, creating an exploratory platform that adds another layer to the virtual travel experience, with audio clips to place armchair travelers firmly in their destination.
It’s called Sounds of Street View and gives users a "3-dimensional sound experience." By fusing Street View with web audio API, the platform allows virtual visitors at Place du Palais in Avignon, France, for instance, to hear the ringing of church bells, the chirping of happy birds, and an accordionist playing in the square.
In addition to soaking in the sun from cloudless skies and virtually walking the cobblestoned streets, the din of clanging plates at the nearby outdoor cafe and the hum of conversation add another sensory experience to Google Street View.
“It’s one of the most important human senses, which affects how we observe the world and how we interact, such as giving us an ultimate sense of direction or knowing when danger is upon us: sound,” says creator Amplifon.
The platform also uses stereophonic sound so that audio from the left of the screen is actually heard from the left, and sounds from the right heard from the right.
Developers can also create and add their own sound to the platform using the framework provided.
At Hapuna Beach, Hawaii, visuals of turquoise waters are punctuated by an audio soundtrack of waves lapping the shore, while a sunny day at Balboa Park in San Diego is enriched with the sounds of cooing pigeons and a street band in the distance.
The only senses left for Google Street View to be complete are digital platforms that can add the smell of a place -- melting butter at a crepe stand in France, coconut-scented air on a tropical island -- and the feel of sand beneath our feet, or the sun on our skin.
That, or a plane ticket.