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Google Maps Street View hits LA; No Love for Valley, South LA

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The bridge connecting City Hall with City Hall East on Main Street.

As of today, you can now gawk among the arteries of Los Angeles at street level via Google Maps. The internet company has just launched an additional four cities to their Street View feature on Google Maps making a total of nine cities: San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Las Vegas, Denver, Miami, Orlando, Houston, San Diego and Los Angeles. "Google Maps Street View lets you move virtually down city streets with the ability to pan 360 degrees to take in the streetscape around you," Mike Pegg explains on Google Maps Mania, the dominating unofficial Google Maps blog.

While Downtown, Santa Monica and LA between the Santa Mountains and the 10 Freeway are fairly well represented in coverage, The Valley and South LA are lacking. In the Valley, Street View only travels Ventura Blvd. as far West as Balboa in Encino and no further than Magnolia Blvd to the north (other than two streets that stretch to Sherman Way). South LA's representation mainly consists of freeways (pictured to the below right is the intersection of the 110 and 105 freeways near the neighborhoods of Watts, Magnolia Square, Green Meadows, Vermont Vista, Century Palms and Century Cove).

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"Our focus is on making Street View imagery available for as many cities as possible. We are focusing on major metropolitan areas, and the urban centers of those areas, but plan to make Street View more comprehensive as time goes on," Kate Hurowitz, a Google spokesperson, told LAist this afternoon. "As you know, there's a lot to cover in LA!"

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Although Hurowitz claims that "the imagery is anywhere from one month to one year old", photos of the ArcLight and Chinese Theater hint that Google took the street view photos almost 2 years ago in December 2005. A sign at the ArcLight advertises King Kong and The New World is playing at the Chinese Theater, movies that were hits in Christmas of '05.

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft is working on competing products that already launched in 2006, but are not as elegant or easy to use. Microsoft Virtual Earth, like Google Earth, offers zoomable aerial views of cities. Microsoft's Street-Side gives street level views like Google's Street View, except with two options viewing it from a race or sports car. The program is currently limited to Seattle and San Francisco.

And now let the hunt for knickers in a twist begin... (h/t bLA). After jump, photos from Google Street View featuring Pink's, the 2nd Street Tunnel, Dodger Stadium and more.