From the New Yorker Magazine:
With a click of my mouse, I am dropped, unceremoniously, onto a strip of road outside of Budapest on a sunny day. There is a field of crops nearby, and a white van progressing along a two-lane highway. Navigating forward and backward in this digital space, I can see more road, more trees and farm fields, and the pale blue sky. There is a sign for an upcoming exit that advertises the usual roadside amenities: parking, restaurants, gas. I click again, and find myself on another strip of highway, this time thickly lined with evergreens. I am on the outskirts of Svenstavik, which, Google informs me, is a Swedish locality, population 1,004, circa 2010. Here, dark clouds are dense on the horizon and no cars are in sight.
This is the start of my morning of virtual travel on Random Street View, a Web site that sends you to locations in Google Street View. Google has captured over ten million miles of the Earth’s roads, and the photos are panoramically navigable, allowing users to become explorers in an uncanny virtual space. Random Street View, along with similar sites like MapCrunch, makes serendipitous travel through this simulated world possible. These projects have recently gone through a pandemic-induced phase of popularity, as people stuck in their homes post pictures of their pseudo-destinations to social media with a sense of longing or irony.
Oooohhh what fun. Who needs to go on holiday. I’ve just done a sight seeing trip round Bhutan