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Homesick OFWs use Google Street View to check PH homes

/ 08:49 AM September 26, 2015
streetview Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 7.51.39 AM

SCREENGRAB FROM ED ZAFRA’S FACEBOOK PAGE

Filipinos have found a new purpose for the recently launched Google Street View in the Philippines.

READ: Google PH launches Street View

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More than just a navigation or tourism tool, Street View is now being used by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to view their homes in the Philippines.

Since its official launch earlier this month, a number of netizens grew curious about what their houses look like through Street View. Soon enough, Filipinos based abroad started tapping the service to view their houses in the homeland.

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Some of them have also posted screengrabs of the Street View of their houses on Facebook.

“Nakaka-miss ang bahay at mag-motor (I miss our house and riding a motorcycle),” said one user who posted a photo of his house with a motorcycle parked outside.

Another posted, “Di makauwi…kaya hanggang street view na lang muna (I can’t go home…so I’ll use Street View for now).”

Meanwhile, another OFW marveled on Facebook at the fact that she could see the nearby bakery and the car of her neighbor through Street View.

Sharry Lagarnia, who is working in the United States, said she decided to check on her house after a friend told her that Street View is now available in the Philippines.

She said she is familiar with Street View because she has used it in the US.

“It’s amazing because it’s detailed. I didn’t expect that,” Lagarnia said, referring to the Philippine version of the application.

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One Facebook user, Ed Zafra, posted a photo of his hometown using InstantStreetView, which is linked to the service itself.

“This is a proof of the kind of technology we have nowadays. We don’t need to go home physically anymore to have a view of our place,” he said in his post.

Although not based abroad, he said he has long been teaching fellow senior citizens how to utilize technology.

“I was trying to teach my OFW friends on how to use Street View. Those who replied to my post are based abroad,” he told INQUIRER.net.

In one of his Facebook groups, he gives instructions on how to navigate the website by showing a link to an elementary school in Bulacan.

“If the OFW’s place is covered by the technology and they can learn how to find their way in Street View, they will definitely be very happy with it,” said Zafra, who regularly blogs. “They can browse not only their own houses but even those of old acquaintances and those will be very nice topics of conversations for them.”

The Philippines is now the 69th country with Google Street View. It was launched last week with the company emphasizing its uses to boost tourism in the country.

Sarangani Representative and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said the application allows him to showcase his province because of its panoramic images.


READ: Pacquiao says Street View will help Philippine tourism

Not only have Google cars covered cities and even subdivisions, the company’s cameras have also been brought to rural areas and have reached the highest peak of Mt. Pulag. So far, it has covered 40 cities and historical sites. Kristine Angeli Sabillo, INQUIRER.net/CDG

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TOPICS: Facebook, Google cars, Google Street View, homes, homesick, OFW, Overseas Filipino Workers, Social Media, technology
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