Travel

The Google Street View camera takes selfies, looks like Johnny Five

Google Street View offers a great service, capturing exactly what faraway (or close-to-home) places look like in real life for you to see from the comfort of your computer or mobile device.

But somewhere along the lines, perhaps the Street View camera short circuited and became self-aware. Because it took a bunch of selfies, and in them, it looks a helluva lot like Johnny Five.

In 2011, Google launched Google Art Project, in which it sent Street View cameras into museums with the noble goal of archiving cultural artifacts from around the world, and allowing anyone, anywhere to tour the world’s best museums. To date, it features more than 32,000 pieces of artwork from 46 museums.

Turns out, museums have a lot of mirrors. And thus, the cameras kept taking accidental selfies. Either that, or this is the next step to Skynet becoming a real thing.

Spanish artist Mario Santamaria first noticed these eerie images, and compiled them on his Tumblr, The Camera in the Mirror.

Why is the camera on a podium? Why does it sometimes wear a dress? Does it coordinate its belts with its pulleys? All great questions.

All we know is that it’s a special indoor version of the high-res Google Street View 360-degree camera system, and comes with a laptop, hard drive, lasers that gauge distances to walls, and motion sensors, all generally wrapped in a silver blanket to minimize reflections.

Sometimes you’ll even catch a real live operator. Exactly what the T-800 couldn't accomplish in the first Terminator movie.

Check out Google's Art Project here. And don't be afraid of the robot. It's actually more Johnny Five than Arnold, after all.

Sophie-Claire Hoeller is Thrillist's associate travel editor, and wishes this had existed before her gallerist mom schlepped her to every museum on the planet. Follow her @Sohostyle