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Google pioneers underwater content

The search giant boldly goes where no online mapping service has gone before…

Google’s Street View has long made pretty compelling content. Whether you use it to get a clearer idea of a destination than any ordinary road atlas could give, or to take a trip down a virtual memory lane to show your kids the house you grew up in on the other side of the world, Street View provides the perfect combination of important information and timewasting opportunities.

So successful has it been that others have got in on the act, eager for their slice of the real-world-view pie. That Google has, so far, remained one step ahead of the competition owes much to its willingness to innovate. And innovations don’t come much more… well, innovative than taking your cameras underwater and providing Street View-type images of some of the world’s great coral reefs.

‘We want to be a comprehensive source for imagery that lets anyone explore anywhere,’ Jenifer Foulkes, Google’s ocean programme manager, told the BBC. ‘This is just the next step to take users underwater and give them the experience of an area that most people have not been to – seeing sea turtles, seeing manta rays, crazy pencil urchins and beautiful fish.’

But as well as being an effective PR exercise and showcase for Google’s ability to develop groundbreaking (and, indeed, ocean-breaking new technology), the underwater mapping serves an important purpose in recording these amazing, but threatened areas for future generations.

Among the reefs mapped is Australia’s own Great Barrier Reef, around Heron Island, Lady Elliot Island and Wilson Island – and it looks a little something like this…

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