Google Maps Street View comes to Seattle, and more…

As reported yesterday in the Seattle Times Real Estate blog, Google announced they had added several cities and countries to Street View including Seattle.We've been waiting since Street View debuted in May of 2007. Everyone wondered why Google would not put Seattle at the top of the list since we are one of the leading tech cities in the US. Well, perhaps there was wisdom in their thinking we didn't realize. The long-waited release is pretty snazzy and has a number of details and improvements that the cities with the initial roll out didn't get.

The area covered is significantly larger than just Seattle. It stretches form north of Everett to South of Tacoma and as far east as North Bend. While it doesn't cover the whole Puget Sound area, it does reach over to Bremerton and tries to include the most traveled areas.

Google Maps Street View - Seattle Area coverage

This may be of immense help to buyers and real estate agents to help give people the trouble of physically going to the property when they can do a “virtual drive by” to get a pretty good idea if it's the type of neighborhood they are looking for.There is so much to be said for this type of perspective. Here are a few instances when someone might want to use Street View to find out information not readily available in the listing or elsewhere:

  1. Is it a busy street? You can tell if it's a major arterial on atraditional map. But Street View will show you now many lanes, if it's yellow-striped, etc.
  2. Is the neighborhood kept up well? I always tell clients to look around and see if neighbors keep up their yards, mow the grass, keep their houses painted, etc. Pride of ownership of the neighbors says a lot about what kind of people they are.
  3. Does the house have privacy? Often when I take a client to a home, they can tell before we get out of the car that the bedroom looking over the street, or exposed windows next to a nearby street corner is not going to work for them.

These are just a few examples of where Google Maps Street View is redefining the term “curb appeal” for real estate. Next comes the 3-D integration of Google Earth! I can't wait!

It appears that Apple and Google will enhance the Google Maps to include the Street View functionality on the iPhone with the upcoming iPhone 2.2 operating system update. (see screenshot of beta below courtesy of
iPhone beta 2.2 - Google Streetview screenshot