As you may recall, back in 2012 Google announced a partnership with XL Catlin Seaview Survey to add underwater cameras to their Google Street View technology, allowing users to experience panoramic views of remote reefs and islands from the comfort of their couch.
The goal of the partnership was to bring the global devastation of coral reefs to a wider audience (over 40 percent has been lost over the past 30 years) in the hopes that by being able to visualize the damage, more people would be motivated to support conservation.
Today, Google added one of it’s largest updates to the technology, by adding more than 40 new underwater Street View cameras to it’s cache. The results are stunning.
The timing of the release is also no mistake. June 8 is World Oceans Day, and the new cameras will allow unprecedented access to everyone across the globe to experience the oceans that cover 70 percent of our globe.
“With these vibrant and stunning photos you don’t have to be a scuba diver — or even know how to swim — to explore and experience six of the ocean’s most incredible living coral reefs,” states Google’s expansion microsite. “Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays.”
Beyond the adventuresome spirit of underwater exploration, and perhaps more telling, the new cameras will allow for users to compare before and after shots of the devastation of coral reefs.
According to the video announcing the underwater expansion, Google explained that by mapping the ocean they hope to better protect it. Only time will tell how successful they will be. For now, enjoy the views.
You can now view everything from humpback whales in the Cook Islands…
…to Balinese shipwrecks
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