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Google Street View gets ASCII goggles (pictures)

Filter turns Google's Street View into a text-based adventure. Here, Times Square, CNET headquarters, Steve Jobs' childhood home, and other spots get the retro treatment.

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headshots_Christopher_MacManus_140x100.jpg

Christopher MacManus

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1 of 6 Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

San Francisco City Hall

Wish you could see the world in code like Neo in "The Matrix?"

Take a gander at San Francisco City Hall through ASCII Street View, a Web site that casts colorful combinations of text over standard Google Street View imagery. The unique perspective comes from Peter Nitsch, who works in the labs at Toronto marketing firm Teehan+Lax. He cobbled together image-to-text conversion software that uses a combination of WebGL and 3D JavaScript to create the retro overlay.

Nitsch's fondness for text-based art doesn't simply derive from the early days of the Internet.

"For many of us that have grown up with computers, text-mode art represents something deeper than nostalgia," Nitsch says on the Teehan+Lax labs blog. "It is an art form manifested from technological constraints, inspired by the same hacker ethos that build the early machines used to produce and view it."

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2 of 6 Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Steve Jobs' childhood home

Apple legends Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created the first Macintosh computer here at Jobs' parents' home in Los Altos, Calif. The rest is history.
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3 of 6 Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

London Olympics Stadium

With the 2012 Summer Olympics in full swing, it seemed appropriate to feature a shot of the London Olympic Stadium. The stadium seats 80,000 people -- or millions of lines of text in this case.
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4 of 6 Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

CNET headquarters

Fancy a stroll in downtown San Francisco? Walk in the right direction and you might come across the CNET headquarters, shown here in glorious colorful text. Fortunately, the editors inside won't need to edit the babble in this image.
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5 of 6 Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Times Square

At first glance, New York's iconic Times Square looks unfamiliar through the ASCII Street View.
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6 of 6 Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Google headquarters

When Google announces a new version of Android, the Mountain View, Calif., company puts up a related statue in the front lawn of Building 44. In this photo, several Googlers pose in front of delicious Froyo and Gingerbread fixtures.

Peter Nitsch originally created this ASCII filter for another related project named "Painting with a digital brush," which you can learn more about in the video below.

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