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Posted on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 9:26 a.m.

See that strange-looking tricycle in Ann Arbor? Smile, it's the Google cam

By Kellie Woodhouse


A tricycle equipped with a Google 360-degree camera is roaming University of Michigan's campus

Photo courtesy of U-M

Have you seen a man riding a camera-laden tricycle around University of Michigan's campus?

Don't be alarmed, it's Google.

A Google tricycle is weaving through U-M's Ann Arbor campus to capture a 360-degree view of the area. The tricycle isn't just sticking to the streets either. It's also hitting U-M's walkways and plazas.

The images will be used to provide detailed views of U-M's campus for Google Earth users. When the tricycle's task is finished, prospective students may be able to get a feel of the expansive campus without ever stepping foot in Ann Arbor.

So, if you see a strange-looking tricycle outfitted with a large camera, smile, because you could be memorialized by the World Wide Web's most widely used search engine and map provider.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Angie V

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

You may be on there, but they will blur out your face.


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

If it comes near me I plan to blur my own face


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

My son saw the Google-mobile driving around A2 today. The car is small and has a tower on it with a big ball on top that has many camera openings. Strange looking vehicle. Look out! You're on Google camera! smile!

Douglas Willett

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 3:04 a.m.

FYI, Google Business Photos ( a.k.a Indoor Street View ) has also made its way into the Ann Arbor area. This new service allows business owners to bring users directly from Street View through their front doors to give them a panoramic, 360 degree virtual tour of their establishment. These virtual tours also show up directly through organic search results on Google. Here is an tour done this week of Mirs Oriental Rugs on Main Street --> For more info, contact one of Google's Trusted Photographers at 734-260-1069.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

Awesome!! Can't wait to check it out!!


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Streetview isn't allowed on private roads like those in subdivisions. Did U of M give permission?

Kyle Mulka

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 2:36 a.m.

U of M is a public university. So, maybe that doesn't matter?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Does he walk the tricycle when on the sidewalk?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

Does this mean Google Streetview for Ann Arbor will be upgraded to higher quality resolution (like so many other cities in the country)? The dark, grainy quality currently available doesn't do our fair city any justice, that's for sure.

Douglas Willett

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

Yes, the images will be clearer than what is currently being shown for the Ann Arbor roadways.

Joker Man

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

No point in smiling since their software blurs faces. Do something crazy with your body instead...or just wave!

Dog Guy

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Oh, that's why he wouldn't sell me an ice cream bar.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

I'll make sure to let Google know that they're #1. I hope I use the right finger....


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

Pretty cool, can't wait to see it all on Google Earth


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

I vote we dub it the "GoogleTrike". What say you, Ann Arborites?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

Do they encourage or frown upon waving to the camera? I feel that would be a nice surprise on Google Earth.