We’ve all fantasized about it. Working for Google, getting paid for driving. Then you go online and search for the answer- how do you get hired to be driver of a Google street view car? And the truth is … it’s harder than you think. Not even Google jobs has information about the street view positions, but people who have talked to the drivers in the past have been putting up a sort of “guide” on how to get picked up by the Google Street View team.
For starters, Google works with a lot of “partners” that provide drivers and images for them. Pier Far one of the lucky guys that had the chance to talk with one of the drivers as driver was doing a pass by. Said that the driver of the streeview-mobile showed up to a location for a “driving job”. It wasn’t until after he was given the keys to the car that he realized it was the, now famous and most recognizable “Easter egg” in the world, Google Street view car.
The driver was given instructions to drive around his neighborhood, local streets, and city. This is because Google understands that the local citizens are going to know the ins and the outs of their local area better than anyone else. They are told to drive on every street that the car can drive through - from highways, to alleys. Once they get into the car, you get the system rolling with a simple “pause/record” button which controls the camera.
You have a screen on the right side of the vehicle, the passenger side, and in the rear of the vehicle you have the large server that takes care of the rest.
According to Google, Street View imagery is gathered by vehicles equipped with advanced imaging technology. As they drive on public streets, the vehicle records and monitors all of the events around the car. The imagery consists of a combination of Google’s own data, and data obtained from partners. It’s not in real-time, but Google claims that most of the images were taken within the last year.
In the past, Google gave you the option to submit your own images, but at this time, they are not accepting photo submissions for inclusion in Street View. Not like they need that anymore.
According to Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist at Google UK, the drivers are contractors rather than Google employees. When Google Street Views first started out they contracted and licensed shots from Immersive Media, a company that specializes in 360-degree videos. This company was used in order to fill out their coverage in cities like NYC. This company is still used by Google to get the images out of the way. The reason Google can’t hire someone full time to do this, is because they would be losing money in the long run. You can only travel the streets so many times a day before the job becomes obsolete. If they were updating the servers in real time, then it would be a different story. And that story includes a lot of time, a lot of space, and a lot of billable hours for their employees. Hours that can be saved since most streets don’t change overnight.
To help you further in the actual search, the actual job title is called “GeoImmersive Data Producer” and you have to work for an Immersive Media Company. According to Mac Rumors, the Pay starts at about 24K and they provide a limited budget to live and eat on when you’re on the road.
An article posted on McLeans covered a couple of “dream jobs” one of the jobs that they covered was the Google Car Driver. They claim that the drivers get paid $2,500 a month for 4 months. While the money might not be the best, bragging rights make up for all of it.
Your best shot is to apply to Immersive Media, or similar companies like them, and hope you get the job that EVERY driver wants to get. Recently, a Redditor did an AMA where he claims that he started his job as the driver by working for Immersive Media, you can find more information on here. Another good place to start is Simply Hired, where you can find every Google Maps Job available, sometimes you may see an add on this site looking for local drivers. When this comes up, the chances are you’ll be driving their car around town, so keep your eyes open for that.
This job is more of a hit or miss position, since Google doesn’t have the ability to cover the entire globe, they hire small local companies to take care of the work for them. If you work for a local driving service company, you may get a job from Google asking for a driver to drive around a specific location. Outside of that, not even Google employees get the privilege to drive around the US taking pictures of every street they find.
That is, unless you work for Google in their Googleplex working for their special projects – you know, the one where they have the self driving cars – which, if you think about it, will eventually replace the position all together. As new information comes to light, we’ll try to update you. The last revision was conducted on August 22, 2013. Good Luck!