Tools

Google's Olympics

By NBC NEWSCHANNEL

For those of us who can't afford the time or ticket price to head to Vancouver and see the Olympic Games firsthand, there's a Silicon Valley way to at least pretend you're there.

It comes courtesy of Google.

Remember Google's Street View?

Well, the step-by-step "you are there" technology has now been mapped to take you virtually up and down the slopes of Vancouver.

Google calls it "Slope View." Instead of using a car or a bike or a trike, this time they've rigged a specialized snowmobile to map the Winter Games ski zones.

The Mountain View team had a hard deadline of Opening Ceremony to make the option live and they just made it.

It's another one of those things that when you see how they did it, you'll probably be a little jealous of the folks who get paid to work there.

Literally from the top of the mountain to the bottom, "Slope View" lets you cruise the mountain at your own pace.

It's something fun to do as you watch your favorite skiers and snowboarders bomb down the mountain. It's reminiscent of how TV golf coverage shows you an aerial view of the hole, right before the players tee off.

You'll no doubt see all sorts of angles on TV, of the slopes and what the skiers will face. With the new Google tool, you can do so when you want, as fast or slowly as you want, over and over again. A gimmick, timed for Google to promote itself in advance of the Olympics?

Maybe, but it's a pretty cool one.

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