If you, too, are guilty of trolling Google's street view feature for glimpses of adorable dogs chilling on streets around the world, you're going to swoon over Google new "dog view" feature in Japan. In short, the folks over at Google Japan have come up with a great way to combine the country's affection for the Akita breed of dog and their best feature, street view. While normally users can check out the landscape of participating areas around the world on street view from the perspective of the Google camera car, Google Japan's "dog view" allows users to see the street from an Akita dog's point of view — complete with the back of their floofy little head in the frame. As reported by Mashable, dog view lets you see a variety of different tourist attractions, like the Akita Dog Museum (duh), snowy trails, a Roken Shrine, an open air footpath, and Shibuya station —a train station in Tokyo that features a statue of an Akita dog named Hachiko.
If the name Hachiko sounds familiar, it's probably because you've either heard the Japanese story about it, or watched the 2009 Richard Gere movie Hachi: A Dog's Tale, based on the story. Basically, the story goes: in 1923 lived Hachiko, a very loyal Akita dog that would follow its owner to the Shibuya Train Station each morning to see him off before work. The dog would also return to the station in the afternoon to walk his owner home from work, because duh, dogs are adorable angels. In 1925, Hachiko's owner died suddenly, but for the rest of the dog's life, even when it went on to live with new loving owners, it would wait at the train station for its owner to return. In 1934, the city erected a statue in the dog's honor, to celebrate how loyal and loving he was — he became a symbol of love and faithfulness. A year later, the dog passed away, but the story and the statue continue to touch visitors — so it's no surprise that Ako and Asuka, Google's dog view photographers included the statue and the station in their city guide.
As you'll see from the footage, it's not perfectly steady, making it more of a novelty than a tool. Though to be clear, Google Japan did ensure that the process was in no way harmful for Ako and Asuka, as the cameras were merely attached to the dogs' harnesses and were in no way a burden to them. And while the snow fields and gorgeous views are a certainly a clear attraction for this feature, there's just something about the field of view including a pair of pointy ears and a fluff of fur that makes it all the more endearing.
"Dog view" comes at a perfect time: According to The Verge, in an unrelated series of incidents, a sweet and adventurous doggo recently followed a Google Maps vehicle around a South Korean island, photobombing nearly every frame with an adorable curiosity that, when discovered, made hearts explode across the world.
As for the future of Google's "dog view," I can only hope that Google in America catches on. Though there are no plans to bring the feature to the US, it would surely be a hit — I mean, I don't know if they've noticed, but we're pretty obsessed with pups over here. In general, street view is a pretty great tool to interact with animals. One of my favorite things to do is troll for animal photobombs — you'd be surprised by how many animals are caught on camera. But for real, fingers crossed they add dog view to Google Maps over here one day in the (hopefully near) future.