I've seen some good media coverage online from this IAmA. Thanks to all!

If anyone from the media wishes to contact me, please PM me on here and I will do a private Q&A.

Hello all once again, doing another IAmA. Why? Well I don't really post that much on Reddit, mostly browse, so karma doesn't matter to me, especially in a self post.

Anyway, so you may have all heard about Google StreetView's new update! I've been driving as a contracted driver for Google under a third-party company for about 3 months now.

I have mostly been part of the update project since I started, I haven't really added too much to the new system, mostly just improving it and such as the update states. I did have an option to help with the UnderwaterView, but it would result in me having to pay all expenses to get there, don't really have the money to do so. After all, this job is a temp-job.

Anyway, right now I'm nearing the finishing of my routes in New England and then will be going a little west and south, going to about Virginia or so. I'm one of the lucky few who has been kept on due to my hard work (and them overworking me and me not complaining...money is money).

So yeah, ask me anything. The only thing I can't answer is my current location or where I will be going and what route, due to my own safety.

I did get into a minor fender bender with my van that I had, so they gave me one of the Imprezas to drive. I prefer this car much more, but it does behave a little topheavy in windy conditions.

Twitter: @GoogleDriver419

Proof? See my previous IAmA here:http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/yzoft/iama_recently_employed_google_maps_driver_i_drive/?sort=confidence

With the verification here:http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/yzoft/iama_recently_employed_google_maps_driver_i_drive/c607ulw

Made the front page! Thanks everyone! Keep the questions coming!

Comments: 1873 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

captainlvsac686 karma

Any idea how long it takes data taken by your car to make it to google maps? I waved at a car and i have been waiting for it to update to my beautiful face.

GoogleDriver419614 karma

Usually 6 months after I upload it.

gerLdsmash268 karma

It goes to us qc at randstad so we can license plate and face blur after

GoogleDriver419215 karma


NeedTea460 karma

Is there a speed limit you have to stick by to make sure the pictures are fine or can you drive 100mph and the pictures still will be ok?

GoogleDriver419378 karma

All legal speed limits are observed at all times.

[deleted]134 karma

Most freeways have 75mph speed limits. Do the cameras work when you're going that fast, or do you have to go slower?

EDIT: for everybody asking where I got 75mph, here's what Wikipedia says

The highest speed limits are generally 75 mph (121 km/h) in western states and 70 mph (113 km/h) in eastern states. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limits_in_the_United_States

GoogleDriver419236 karma

They work, but on freeways we will usually stick to 60.

TheCodexx106 karma

How are the camera set to trigger?

Are they set up to precisely track distance and capture an image at distance intervals? Or do they take constant photos and then a computer takes them, reconciles the time/distance, and then decides which sets to use later?

If there's problems, do you guys go back and do "reshoots"?

Unrelated question: Do you guys plan for weather/time at all? Is there a target atmosphere you guys try to schedule around? Or do any days work as long as there's enough light and it's safe to drive?

GoogleDriver419138 karma

2nd way you mentioned. It's all automatic.

We do reshoots, usually in the same day.

We don't usually record in the rain or high winds.

andresaveiro432 karma

Hey dude!! Google Independent Photographer here, I take the pics (virtuals tours) inside businesses and post them on Google!!! Thanks for street view, the other day I connected a nod from street view to the inside of a pretty popular bar. high fives

GoogleDriver419359 karma

Noice! I hate removing them from the mounts, it gets tedious after a while. Plus cleaning all of the sensors are tricky!

BeanGallery342 karma

How much do you get paid? When's the last time you called your mother?

GoogleDriver419398 karma

Not much, around $30K or so now. It also depends on mileage as well.

Hmm..maybe like a week ago.

BeanGallery431 karma

Thanks for the answers... It's time to call your mom again

GoogleDriver419434 karma

Probably so. I'll let her know you told me to.

yelo_canu84 karma

Don't call your mother, and don't tell her I told you not to call her.

GoogleDriver419100 karma

Wait...which is it? In order to tell or not tell her something I would have to call her.

spritef40 karma

how are you paid exactly? you mention mileage, is it time & mileage? salary & mileage?

GoogleDriver41987 karma

It's not really a salary. Give or take 30K, which encompasses a certain amount of mileage. Then after I hit that mileage, think of it like overtime pay, where I get paid more per mile.

Schlenkerla14 karma

So basically, if you speed you get more money? I want your job. :-)

GoogleDriver41967 karma

Well it is all GPS monitored. So I would lose my job if I sped.

LaxBro4309 karma

Whats the funniest thing you've seen when driving?

GoogleDriver419490 karma

Just people trying to be stupid for the camera.

ILL_Show_Myself_Out234 karma

What is an example of people being stupid for the camera?

GoogleDriver419434 karma

Mooning, pretending to fight each other, make duck faces, give the peace sign.

Revofev92473 karma

Yes, and what about the houses besides mine?

GoogleDriver419190 karma

I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.

rrrrrrrray270 karma

Do you get bored driving around all day?

Do you have an iPhone, and if so, do you use Apple's Maps?

GoogleDriver419386 karma

I do have an iPhone, but I have 5.1.1. I won't use 6. But also I have a computer in the car with a built-in GPS.

cattreeinyoursoul534 karma

Why an iPhone and not an Android?

Edit: I was only asking because he works for Google. Calm down people. If he worked for Ford and drove a Toyota, people would ask why. Heck, I talked to someone who used to work for Coke and they wouldn't let them drink Pepsi.

So I asked. Sorry.

Edit 2: I did not realize that was an independent contractor when I asked. And based on some of your experiences with soft drink companies, that doesn't always matter. Although changing out a drink is much cheaper than your phone, of course.

GoogleDriver419713 karma

Personal preference. Not going to go into that whole debate.

smellybottom89 karma

What kind of GPS system does the computer have? Something custom from google?

GoogleDriver419609 karma

Google Maps lol.

splintersmaster258 karma

How much genetalia do you see during the average work day.

GoogleDriver419743 karma

On the internet or while driving ;)

[deleted]492 karma


GoogleDriver419194 karma



Blazeinpain57 karma


GoogleDriver419104 karma

Combined about 3-4 persons worth. While driving, usually none.

hornyskaband180 karma

What happens when you stop at a rest stop? Any awkward encounters?

GoogleDriver419327 karma

Oh yeah. People ask me to take their picture WITH the car, standing next to the car with their camera, etc... If I'm tired, I just ignore them. If they keep insisting, I'll usually pretend I'm going to take their picture and like do a selfie and just away.

bigolredafro270 karma

do a selfie

there's a masturbation joke in here somewhere

GoogleDriver419801 karma

Everyday life is a masturbation joke.

bigbryan92151 karma

have you ever seen any illicit activities being commited while driving?

GoogleDriver419264 karma

Not really paying too much attention to the side of the road. I guess once in a while I'll catch like a drug deal in a bad area.

monstaro135 karma

Ever been scared in some of the bad areas? What is the scariest or weirdest area you've been to?

GoogleDriver419270 karma

I've been all over NYC. Some areas I just skipped entirely. But Harlem was pretty bad, I had people throwing stuff at te car trying to hit the cameras.

Milkslinger199 karma

I'd be careful..as a former Detroiter, here's an idea of what you can expect if/when you go through there.

GoogleDriver419204 karma

Been to Detroit on unrelated travel. Never going back.

SoundbiteProductions140 karma

How often does StreetView update in certain areas? The longest delay between StreetView updates? My town hasn't been updated since 2008. The data says "Copyright 2012 Google", but the same car from the previous owner has been parked in my driveway before I moved in.

GoogleDriver419165 karma

The copyright usually would display the current year. As for updating, it all depends on how often that area is used with StreetView.

bman86122 karma

Does that mean if someone's address was 'streetviewed' extensively, they would re-image it?

GoogleDriver419160 karma

It would have to be viewed by several thousands of people before it really gets labeled as a point of interest.

pizzabash613 karma

Reddit, we have our next pointless mission.

GoogleDriver419214 karma

Do it!

catatonicfan53 karma

Any suggestions people?

GoogleDriver41974 karma

Pick an address and just have people keep using StreetView in that area.

Dog_River_Dave130 karma

Thanks for doing an other one, as I had missed it and all, sorry.

Do you have a GPS with a pre-planned route that you follow? Or is it more willy-nilly?

GoogleDriver419166 karma

I get points A and B, as well as any major points of interest along the way. For the most part, the planning is up to us. Obviously we don't do like random side streets, we usually just have a quota of data to cache. The route is up to us.

Conradical314147 karma

I would have thought this would be carefully planned and heavily optimised...

GoogleDriver41973 karma

The starting and ending points are, and take into account the area and where they think I'll be going.

Conradical31476 karma

well yeah, but I thought the whole thing would be carefully mapped out, to hit the important areas and maximise 'importance' of areas, all while reducing backtracking etc

GoogleDriver41951 karma

Indeed. That is part of our job, mapping the routes. Plenty of info is provided to help us.

chewp91167 karma

Who does the random streets?

GoogleDriver41972 karma

Well we have quotas to meet. If we need some extra data, we will hit some side streets to meet the quota.

KrimsonTide102 karma

Do you and the sea lion who drives the apple maps car ever have standoffs at red lights?

GoogleDriver419136 karma

I always conceal carry just for that reason. Ever see a UPS and FedEx driver go at it? Yeah..grandma won't be getting get vase in one piece this year.

IhaveSomeQuestions56101 karma

1) How much do you make a year?

2) How do I get a job like this?

3) What are your breaks like?

4) How much do you tip at a sit down restaurant?

5) What is the craziest thing someone got fired for?

6) Have you met any girls/guys while on duty?

7) What do you wish the general public understood about your job?

8) Do you ever get people begging you to retake the picture?

9) Craziest thing you have witnessed from the car?

10) What is the best feature with the new update?

Thank You and Good Luck!!!

GoogleDriver419195 karma

  1. Around $30K

  2. You can't really. They don't advertise it as a google driving job, just as a temp driving job. It's random.

  3. Usually get to eat or I'll go to a local store to see what the town is like. I never go to chain-anything. I find beauty in mom and pop shops.

  4. I try to tip 20%. Only if it's like a cafe would I tip less.

  5. Wouldn't know, drivers really don't know each other.

  6. Yeah, but nothing serious.

  7. I have to do my best to avoid getting you in the shot. Please don't stand in the middle of the road waiting for me to get you on camera.

  8. Yes. I never do.

  9. Nothing super crazy, just like a drug deal or two. I've seen a meteor shower though, that was fun and would have been on StreetView if it was daytime.

  10. Much better detail with new cameras, new insides for businesses, and underwater view.

electrictwist101 karma

"Usually get to eat or I'll go to a local store to see what the town is like. I never go to chain-anything. I find beauty in mom and pop shops."

you're awesome for this!

GoogleDriver41953 karma

Thanks! I actually have albums from each town and the places I go. I'll have to review them to make sure I'm not directly in them, but I'll share them.

OneMulatto84 karma

Favorite driving music? Favorite podcast? Who pays for the gas? Do you stay in hotels?

Ever use your cool street view car to pick up chicks?

GoogleDriver419154 karma

  1. Usually depends on my mood. Mostly rock, like ACDC, but I do enjoy stuff like OAR and Dave Matthews.

  2. Podcasts would be most of How Stuff Works podcasts like Stuff You Should Know, some NPR stuff.

  3. They pay for gas.

  4. Sometimes yes. All paid for.

  5. Nope, I wish.

killersnowtiger46 karma

I want this job.

GoogleDriver41916 karma

I wish the other drivers saw this and realized their job is actually pretty fun. Lighten up and enjoy the drive!

ImTreaty70 karma

What do you do to kill time ?

GoogleDriver419337 karma

Usually take a hammer to its knees first.

But actually I usually read various car websites, browse a little Reddit and Twitter, and listen to music.

RedAssTOMDOSS60 karma

So what kind of vehicle do you drive or does it change sometimes

GoogleDriver419107 karma

I had a Nissan van, now it's the Impreza.

5panks156 karma

My car transformed too, but I started with a Volkswagen Jetta and all I got in return was a shitty Citation.

GoogleDriver419124 karma

Someone turned my Ovaltine into Yoohoo, we're all pissed man!

icameforthecookies55 karma

I've read that some street view drivers are jerks. I heard one got mad when someone tried to take their picture. You don't sound that way. Are you new or is there a reason we don't understand the pissyness?

GoogleDriver419123 karma

I'm pretty tame, I enjoy the job. It's money, I'd work at McDonalds if I needed money. I guess I'm humble about it, idk. But if you piss me off I do get angry as it makes my job harder. Most drivers are from temp jobs, and are just douches to begin with.

pacetree55 karma

I saw a Google StreetView car the other week in southwest Washington. I waved, the driver did not wave back. I felt rejected.

GoogleDriver41963 karma

Indeed kind sir. Most are out to earn a quick buck and really don't understand how many would kill for their job.

optimusgonzo54 karma

Hello GoogleDriver419, you are aware that there was a google employee not too long ago who was fired for posting about google in his AMA right after he was hired? Just checking to make sure this is all...Ok with google that you're posting.

Also I saw one of the self driving cars in San Jose last weekend. I want one.

GoogleDriver419104 karma

He was fired for being an idiot and posting things he shouldn't have. I am not directly hired by Google nor have I said anything I shouldn't. Freedom of speech!

RedAssTOMDOSS54 karma

?How many cameras does the system use?

?What happens if one of them malfunctions/breaks while your on the road?

GoogleDriver419294 karma

  1. Not exactly sure, I'm just the Ryan Gossling of Google, not the Grant Imahara.

  2. It does happen. For the most part, we are never too far from an office where they have spares. Otherwise they send someone out to fix it. We do stop filming for the day. But I think it only happened once that I know of and not to me.

kobayashimaru13174 karma

Upvoted for Mythbusters reference.

GoogleDriver419196 karma

Upvoted for your understanding of my reference.

Randomacts81 karma

Upvote for replying.

He got his feels in for the day.

GoogleDriver41983 karma

Upvote....for upvoting..? I give up.

spitfire910750 karma

i thought u were referring to the driverless cars.

GoogleDriver419483 karma

I am a driverless car with advanced human-like AI. PRAISE SKYNET!

snermy41 karma

Does Google keep a backup archive of all the old streeview images? I think it would be cool for people to be able to eventually access those older streetview images and look at how things were 10, 20, or 30 years in the past.

GoogleDriver41946 karma

Well it is still a new system. But yes they will be archived. Google Maps is archived back to the 90's.

InfiniteDrive0636 karma

Was this you this morning in Queens, NY? http://imgur.com/vObbh

GoogleDriver41937 karma

Nope. I haven't been in NYC for a month.

pants242233 karma

You mentioned you had an opportunity to work with the underwater photography, is that a position that requires any previous experience?

GoogleDriver41945 karma

Well I wouldn't be doing any of the difficult jobs, just like doing manual labor plus setting up equipment. I know the hardware but not software. That's for actual Google employees.

Kofal30 karma

Unrelated-what does 419 mean in your username?

GoogleDriver41945 karma

Ah you are the first person to ask me this. It is related to my actual job I have. But it would give away too much info if I said more.

retrospectr330 karma

How did the idea for underwater view come about?

I'm kind of hoping that one of those automated cars went berserk and drove into a lake, and the camera kept snapping pics for a while after and you guys just decided to roll with it from there.

GoogleDriver41932 karma

The rumor is that a Google employee did underwater photography and compiled an album similar to what is found in StreetView. The execs liked it and wanted it to happen.

trapkingxo30 karma

Worst neighborhood you've been through?

GoogleDriver41977 karma

Harlem. It doesn't get a bad rep for no reason.

trapkingxo14 karma

what was the best?

GoogleDriver41928 karma

Lots. I enjoy port cities like Baltimore and Boston. I was vacationing in Baltimore, didn't drive there.

diamond94529 karma

Do you ever bring people, family, friends, etc. to keep you company?

Bonus question: Squirtle or Charizard

GoogleDriver41991 karma

Not allowed to bring others with me. But that's why I have Skype. If my dog knew how to type above 40 WPM, we could actually be the true best fried couple everyone describes.

Charizard.....yup Ill take him from another game and use him at the beginning. Sure, at first the playa may be givin' me disrespect. I'll kill a couple of gym leaders, own their little villages, then Charizard WILL obey me.

Mike_Trollvowski25 karma

On average, how long is your workday? Also, what time of day does your work take place?

GoogleDriver41942 karma

The day lasts as long as it has to, meaning if I get all of the data needed for the day, I'm done. If there's traffic or a guy messing around, the day will take much longer. Usually I try to stay away from rush hour traffic and just work nonstop in between everyone else's workday. Less people on the streets, less cars, much easier.

de_dust18 karma

Were you in Bucks/Montgomery County PA about two weeks ago?

GoogleDriver41962 karma

I might have been, might need some money to refresh my memory ;)

Chigaru13 karma

How do they pick which roads to photograph? Obviously some roads are more important than others, but sometimes you see obscure backroads photographed..

I ask partially because my road has yet to be photographed for street view :/ lol

GoogleDriver41921 karma

It can be directly related to the traffic in that area, or if large changes occur to the area. Other times, just random luck. We get a starting and finishing point, as well as key points. The rest is up to us where to drive to meet the requirements.