Google Wants to Invite You on a Walking Tour of Rio’s Slums


Google launched its Street View mapping service in a slum for the first time, covering a favela in Rio de Janeiro days before it hosts the Olympics. If you are planning to visit in person, you might want to check another app to stay safe.

Sao Carlos is one of 26 Rio de Janeiro favelas Google has mapped since its program kicked off in 2015, and the first to receive Street View, which provides a ground-level perspective through 360-degree photographs. The favela’s narrow roads meant that, rather than photographing the streets by car, local residents were hired to shoulder a backpack and a spherical camera weighing a combined 25 kilos (55 pounds.)

“We wanted to give the experience of what the favela really is to both Brazilians and the rest of the world,” Suzana Ayarza, Google’s director of marketing in Brazil, said in an interview. “This is a first step and obviously we want to keep doing Street View in other favelas where we can.’’

Bringing Street View to Rio’s favelas is the latest in digital cartography for a large segment of the population whose visibility has been limited. Tourists are often fascinated with favelas, some of which climb hillsides along vertiginous roads, and have provided the settings for violent films such as “City of God.” Google also launched an interactive site that shares stories of some favela residents and includes a fast-paced, 360-degree video of a motorcycle ride up Sao Carlos. – READ MORE

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