For those places where google has successfully pursued the effort, you can get a real picture of the place you're exploring. However, there are a ton of instances embedded into the system of really surprising and ridiculous images casually recorded as normal everyday realities for the address being viewed. Some of the pictures have been made through people intentionally acting out in response to the camera, while others are accidental records made by the internet system. I have a fantasy that someone on campus here is organizing to intentionally insert such a rebellion into google maps.
Following are some examples from google maps street view feature that crack me up. (All images really found in google maps street view feature.)
Imagine it: You're in the Ozarks and decide you'd like to go see your friend in Arkansas. While making sure you know what the neighborhood the barbecue is in looks like you happen upon this:
The story I have since found online is that this guy was actually drunkenly passed out and got captured by the cameras.
And finally, two of my favorites from Ireland (though the first image is also admittedly sad).
Imagine it. You're planning a trip to the Irish countryside and need the best route to that stone church you read so much about, and while getting a sense of what the drive will look like you come upon these: