Google lets you zip through the Amazon jungle (Thinkstock)
Google lets you zip through the Amazon jungle
Lexile

Google wants to show you what it's like to zip through trees in the Amazon jungle.

The images were released in 2015. They add to the diverse collection of photos supplementing Google's widely used digital maps. The maps' "Street View" option mostly provides panoramic views of cities and neighborhoods photographed by car-mounted cameras. But Google also has found creative ways to depict exotic locations where there are no roads.

In its latest foray into the wilderness, Google teamed up with environmental protection group Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, or FAS. They wanted to explore a remote part of an Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Google Inc. lent FAS its Trekker device. It is a camera mounted on an apparatus originally designed to be carried like a backpack by hikers walking on trails.

FAS, though, sent the Trekker down a zip line. Google is renowned for going out on a technological limb. But even this project made the company nervous at first, said Karin Tuxen-Bettman. She oversees Google's Street View partnerships.

The setup required FAS workers to tread through the rainforest. They needed to find a place where they could string the zip line. That's so the Trekker wouldn't bump into tree trunks and branches as it zoomed through the thick canopy. With the help of some monkeys who joined their scouting expedition, FAS workers found just enough room to erect a zip line for the Trekker's roughly 65-yard trip.

"If a partner comes to us with a crazy idea, we will probably try it," Tuxen-Bettman said.

Google developed the Trekker camera in 2012. Since then, the device has been dispatched on other unusual journeys. The Trekker went scuba diving in the Galpagos Islands. It took underwater photographs of the preserve. And it traveled on a dog sled in the Canadian Artic to photograph the tundra.

Google's Street View feature has raised privacy concerns through the years. Its photographs have occasionally captured images of unsuspecting bystanders. They might have been engaged in embarrassing activities. Or they might be near places where they didn't want to be seen. Cars carrying Street View cameras also secretly vacuumed up emails and other personal information from 2007 to 2010. They were being transmitted over unsecure Wi-Fi networks. That sparked outrage and legal action around the world.

Privacy issues shouldn't be an issue in any of the photography taken by the zip-lining Trekker. Birds and insects are the only visible forms of life in the pictures it took.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is Google willing to pursue crazy ideas? How does Google benefit?
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COMMENTS (34)
  • Steve0620-yyca
    11/24/2015 - 05:34 p.m.

    I think that it is cool that Google is now trying to capture some photographs of exotic locations like the jungle. They teamed up with environmental protection group Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, or FAS to help them capture the photographs. I tried using the Street View that Google has which allows you to go through the streets of the United States. I think that it is interesting how the people set up zip lines for the camera to go. I hope that the people will be successful in capturing photos of many different places and regions.

  • AnnabelleA-del
    10/12/2017 - 03:38 p.m.

    Google wants to keep its reputation for going "technological limb". They would like people to keep using their tech, and want to expand their horizons.

  • SophiaD-del1
    10/12/2017 - 04:14 p.m.

    Google wants to pursue crazy ideas to help depict and show off road and peculiar areas. Google benefits by gaining money and experience of capturing images in the wilderness! :) ;P

  • GabriellaJ-del
    10/12/2017 - 04:22 p.m.

    Google is willing to pursue this crazy idea because they want to be the best and have the coolest technology. they want to teach people what exotic rainforests and amazons look like.????

  • NatalieH-del
    10/12/2017 - 04:37 p.m.

    Google is willing to pursue crazy ideas so others are able to see what it's like to experience them. Google benefits from them because people will be interested by this and want to try it out for themselves.

  • PedroM-del1
    10/12/2017 - 04:44 p.m.

    Google is willing to pursue crazy ideas because Google like to have fun. Google benefits by finding out if this was a good idea or bad, and the information they got because of it.

  • PedroM-del1
    10/12/2017 - 04:49 p.m.

    That sounds really cool. I would LOVE to go ziplining in the rain forest because they rain forest is cool. But I think that is invading people privacy 'cause IT STATES: "...engaged in embarrassing activities." Google, though it is not there fault, should find a way for that to not happen.

  • PedroM-del1
    10/12/2017 - 04:50 p.m.

    I said that in my last comment because when I read that in the article, I said: WHOA there

  • David M-del
    10/12/2017 - 04:54 p.m.

    Google is willing to pursue crazy ideas so their company can grow more. Google will benefit if you have to take wile you go down a zip line.

  • GregoryM-del
    10/12/2017 - 05:00 p.m.

    I think Google's exotic virtual tours are cool. They give people a chance to see exciting and colorful things. Google also captured many other locations like scuba diving at sea. However, it raises many privacy issues like when Google's cameras captures bystanders.

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