Google Maps StreetView's Opportunity for Improvement

Google Maps’ new StreetView feature is proving to be a very powerful addition to their mapping suite. However, it currently falls short of its full potential.

The biggest problem with the service today is that StreetView doesn’t point at the correct address.

For example, if you search for an address (for this example, let’s use 1412 Frankson Ave, St Paul, MN) you’ll end up on the right block using Google Maps. Clicking on StreetView will give you a view of that street, but it doesn’t come close to aiming at the correct property on the street.

Almost 1412 Frankson Ave, St Paul, MN 55108, USA - Google Maps

It seems like Google is defaulting the view to North for StreetView rather than pointing in the correct direction based on the address.

Over time, I think Google will correct for this based on user contributed address data. Once enough people have edited their home’s location within Google Maps, Google will be able to make fair assumptions about which size of a give street has odd or even numbers. For example, in Minneapolis the North-South running streets have odd numbered addressed on the East side of the street. With that information in hand, Google could default to an East facing view for odd streets and West for evens. That would immediately improve the experience for one relatively large city. The nice thing is that Google will have the data to automatically improve their results everywhere as they gain more user contributed property location edits.

In case you were wondering, the home at the address mentioned above is 5 click rotations to the right. White house, red door.

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