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 (41)
  • EmilyN-del1
    10/12/2017 - 07:28 p.m.

    I think it is amazing that google wants you to see the most exotic places such as the amazon. It is very cool how people can set up zip line for cameras. I would love to try google street view.

    • OlivierJ-del
      10/12/2017 - 09:03 p.m.

      Amazon.com

  • EvanC-del
    10/12/2017 - 08:48 p.m.

    I thought this was a "pretty" cool topic because its really awesome how you can see what its like in this place. But its kind of embarrassing, like if someone is doing something private this is an invasion of privacy. Overall I thought this was good topic to read about

  • OlivierJ-del
    10/12/2017 - 09:03 p.m.

    It is amazing how google is taking pictures for all viewer.This gives many people the great experience of the amazon

  • ChloeR-del
    10/12/2017 - 09:12 p.m.

    Google tries to pursue crazy ideas because they want to go on a "technological limb". This statement means they are going to take the company to a higher level of danger. If Google does crazy ideas they would be trying something new that could be better for their company. Google benefits because they are getting better photos and views of places. It also is getting more customers and more money which makes the company longer lasting and stronger.

  • EthanG-del1
    10/12/2017 - 09:17 p.m.

    Google will benefit from this new idea that they came up with.

  • RushB-del
    10/12/2017 - 09:49 p.m.

    Its cool to see google expanding upon their maps by taking "street view" pictures of exotic locations, but it is concerning to know that google has been collecting personal information.

  • brycew-orv
    10/15/2017 - 02:51 p.m.

    Google is willing to pursue this crazy idea because they want to be the best and have the coolest technology

  • JaredI-del
    10/15/2017 - 09:43 p.m.

    Technology is used everywhere which is not a suprise

  • EsmeraldaV-del
    10/15/2017 - 10:46 p.m.

    Google is willing to pursue crazy ideas that will benefit Google. It says in the article, "Google is renowned for going out on a technological limb." It also says "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 Galapagos Islands." Google is willing to probably try anything one of their partnerships suggests.

  • KyleP-del1
    10/16/2017 - 07:52 a.m.

    Google is willing to peruse crazy ideas because they want most people to use their technology

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