Amazon villagers encounter Google for the first time


Google cameras see trees of green: the Amazon rainforest.


Antonio Scorza

Google announced this summer that it would begin mapping the Amazon.

Google said it hopes the project will help outsiders better understand the scope and the importance of the rainforest.

But just what does it mean for the search engine giant to the map world’s largest tropical rainforest? The Washington Post offers an on-the-ground look:

  • Villagers in Tumbira, Brazil, had never heard of Google. When told the company was coming, they thought that a popular Brazilian variety show host known as Gugu (pronounced goo-goo) was on his way.
  • To take photos, Google used the Google Trike — a nine-camera contraption mounted on a bulky white tricycle, which was previously used to photograph Stonehenge.
  • The Trike was fastened atop a motor boat and taken down an Amazon tributary. It was then slowly pedaled through the town, taking photos of a small school and a forest trail.
  • The villagers were shown photos of other areas of the world mapped by Street View. They were then told Tumbira would be next. “They showed us Rio de Janeiro, the beaches of Copacabana!” said Socorro Macedo. “I’d never, never been there.”

Read more from the Post on the project.