Google’s latest Street View imagery uses AI to capture out-of-this-world landscapes

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Google Street View AI

Google’s latest venture is mingling technology with nature. How? Experimenting with Street View, it is now using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to capture landscapes in all its naked beauty and create professional-type photographs for viewing. Hui Fang, one of the software engineers with Google’s Machine Perception team, has said that the ongoing program “uses machine learning techniques to train a deep neural network to scan thousands of Street View images for shots with impressive landscape potential”. Currently working on Californian scenery, the AI “mimics the workflow of a professional photographer” and transforms regular photographs into works of art.

 

Google Street View image taken by AI
Google Street View image taken by AI

 

This step helps in making AI something more than just a program that understands only binary. Using art and nature as the subject, AI can now create imagery that is aesthetically appealing. However, it means that technology can actually take over human talent, which is what a number of global organizations are looking for in the future.

 

Google Street View image taken by AI
Google Street View image taken by AI

 

As for the Artificial Intelligence being used by Google for Street View, the program takes multiple images of a landscape. Through the programming, it can transform the image, using what we know as “filters”. It can change the lighting of the image, add more colors to the landscape, and transform it into a visual masterpiece.

 

Google Street View image taken by AI
Google Street View image taken by AI

 

To see whether the AI worked, Fang and team received the aid of actual professional photographers. They were asked to rate the photographs taken, that were mixed in with other images that were captured by humans. The result was that one in every five AI images received a rating that convinced these professional photographers that they were taken by semi-pro or pro photographers.

 

Google Street View image taken by AI
Google Street View image taken by AI

 

Hui Fang spoke about the ongoing process of Google’s Street View, saying: “The Street View panoramas served as a testing bed for our project. Someday, this technique might even help you to take better photos in the real world. Would you make the same decision if you were there holding the camera at that moment?”

Image Credit: Google

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