Experience Google Street View with sound

An experimental platform adds a 3D soundscape to Google Street View

Google Street View allows you to poke around surrounding neighborhoods, and you can even go as far as taking a stroll through Half Moon Island, Antarctica in the comfort of your own home. But now thanks to a new third-party feature, you can enjoy an extra dimension of reality with your viewing experience. 

Google_Street_View_Sound_Chicago

Check out the wind and the squeaking of car tires at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago from Amplifon’s project gallery.

The British subset of Italian hearing-aid company Amplifon, which is in no way affiliated with Google, took on creating ambient noise for three Street View locations as a web experiment back in July. The areas include Balboa Park in San Diego, California; Place du Palais in Monaco; and Hapuna Beach in Waimea, Hawaii. Dubbed the Sounds of Street View, the sounds include those you would hear when actually visiting these locations, such as chirping birds, chiming bells, or crashing waves. Just as in real life, the sounds amplify and fade as the user moves around the map. For users wearing headphones, this creates a stereophonic experience, since the volume and filtering will be different for each ear depending on your location. Impressively, the platform imitates the shape of the human ear, so sound appears louder in front and duller behind.

So how’d they do it? The sounds were added to the Street View images using a web audio API. The developer dropped a digital marker to a location on Google Earth or Google Maps, like in normal Street View, but the marker uses sound rather than an image as the marker. Developers with minimal experience are even invited to create their own sounds to submit to Amplifon using the pre-coded template on the company’s website.

Curious? Lend an ear at amplifon.co.uk.

Written for Electronic Products.

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