Google saw Toyota iQ's wager -- and raised. After the car company sent its small, nimble car into the narrow streets of Belgium to gather Street View data for Google, and offered to send the data over at the end of the year, Google is one-upping them with 'Street View Trekker.'
Backpack-cameras will take the data gathering offline, to capture images of places that are only accessible on foot -- the Grand Canyon, for example. All the gear necessary will fit into a simple backpack, the search company announced at a press event.
At the conference, Google also announced that Google Maps functionality will now be available even when your phone is offline (for Android users only) and that it is in the process of a full makeover of Google Maps. The company flew planes over the world's major cities so it could create fully mapped 3D experiences.
Privacy issues, of course, abound. After all, what's next, ask critics. Maps of the inside of buildings? Not such a stretch: airports, malls and IKEA stores are already Google-mapped.