What Happens When You Mash Up Instagram and Google Street View?

Google's Street View has become the canonical view of many places on Earth. Anyone with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world, can dial up a visual for billions of addresses. The Street View is a genre with universalizing tendencies. Every street becomes like every other street. 


But what Google delivers in breadth, it loses in depth. The nature of the car camera technology means that all we see are exteriors passed by. Faces are blurred. We don't really see people living their lives, so much as the backdrop against which they do so.

Which is what makes The Beat, a new project from the Rutgers Social Media Information Lab, so interesting. It mashes up geolocated, hashtagged Instagram photos with the Google Street View locations from which they were posed. In doing so, it provides the human foreground for these locations. 

hugging.jpg

People focus on the most interesting things, on food, on each other, on the sky. Google Street View does not. The other thing we get with Instagram is time: events, sunsets, Thanksgiving dinners, parades.

eventsronald.jpg

Here are a few of my favorites. Though, like with the Instagram mashup This Is Now, The Beat is best experienced yourself, letting the juxtapositions float by.

snakeshoulder.jpg

kidswimming.jpg

sunset.jpg

Presented by

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Technology

Just In