Google’s Street View team last visited South Africa in 2010, just a few months before the World Cup – and in enough time for foreigners to use Street View to get around.
That was three years ago. A lot can happen in 36 or so months. Mobile usage is on the rise in Africa, not just South Africa, and if Google plans to be a dominant player on the continent then it’ll have to step up its game. Those World Cup tourists have gone, but in their place is a new generation of city dwellers: natives of Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, who need tools to navigate the rapidly-changing cities in which they make a living.
Granted, having a car drive around the country’s major city centres, taking photos all day long, isn’t a a task to be taken lightly. It does take a lot of resources. It will take time. And Street View can’t always be 100% accurate. However, with more connected people trying to use it every day, having a useless, outdated tool does more harm than good.
To prove the point, here are some simple snaps take on a drive from Sandton, Gauteng’s financial capital, to the continent’s upcoming technology capital, Braamfontein.
(If you’ve spotted anything on Google Street View that is very outdated, drop us a line, attach the old and new photos, and we’ll publish your findings.)
Sandton and Johannesburg in 2010
Sandton and Johannesburg in 2012