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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Showcasing Dubai to the world

by Joanna Andrews

© Shutterstock
© Shutterstock

Google adds Dubai’s most famous landmark to ‘Google Street View’. Joanna Andrews went to the iconic site to find out more about Google’s digital mirror of the ‘real’ world …

Driving to the Burj Khalifa I realise that when I first moved to Dubai seven years ago, the building – previously called the Burj Dubai – was little more than a construction site. It is staggering to think that in just a few short years one of the world’s most recognised buildings – and tallest - emerged out of the sand. And as if it is not famous enough, Google has just made the ‘Vertical City’ accessible to one billion more people by including it on Google Maps as part as its ‘Special Collects’ series.

At a lavish press conference at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, Google announced the launch of 360-degree street view imagery for the Burj Khalifa (www. It marks the first skyscraper to join Google’s global Street View collections. It is also the first time the technology has been deployed in the Arab World.

Mohammad Gawdat, Vice President, Google in MENA stated, “We are so proud that Google has selected Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa for its first skyscraper - the images are breathtaking and the Burj Khalifa is a beaming example of the vision and achievements of this nation.”

In partnership with Emaar Properties (the developer of the iconic building), Google is giving users unprecedented access inside the world’s tallest building – providing them with breathtaking views. To make this possible, Google used a trekker device, which had never been used at such high-altitudes, to capture the dramatic 360-degree views from suspended building maintenance units. No easy feat! The Burj Khalifa is over 828 metres high, or 2,716.5 feet – scaling more than 160 stories.

Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, said, “Burj Khalifa is the pride of the United Arab Emirates, and a true icon that underlines the strength of global collaborations to create new benchmarks in engineering, architecture and urban planning.”

He added, “Setting the course for Google’s Street View collections in the Arab world and being the first skyscraper to be featured is indeed a true honour. We commend Google for this remarkable initiative, which will enable people around the world to experience this fascinating architectural marvel that positions the world-class city of Dubai.”

The capture includes many interior and exterior portions of Burj Khalifa including the surrounding grounds, the entrance from The Dubai Mall to ‘At the Top, Burj Khalifa,’ the world’s highest observation deck with an outdoor terrace on the 124th floor, as well as the residential and commercial entrances. It also takes users on a journey through the high-speed elevators, Sky Lobbies, Corporate Suites, and meeting room facilities – and jaw-dropping view of the Dubai.

The Burj Khalifa joins the ranks of other famous sites on Google Street View - like the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, Mount Fuji and the White House.

Google said in a statement, “By bringing the technology to remote and restricted places around the world, it allows a global audience the ability to marvel at urban masterpieces demonstrating the depths which Google will go in its ongoing quest to build the perfect, most comprehensive map.”

The ability to give access to more than a billion people to one of the world’s most spectacular buildings at the click of a mouse just shows how much the internet has evolved. It almost seems unbelievable to think that not so long ago we lived in a world without the internet. I remember a time when the net was in its infancy and most people didn’t have access to a computer at home – and owning a mobile phone was a luxury. Hardly imaginable today! But today’s world is more ‘connected’ than ever, and not only do people have multiple computers at home, but they have immediate access at their fingertips – and society is spending the majority of its day online, whether it be talking to friends and family, consuming news, shopping or learning something new. One can only imagine how technology will evolve over the next decade. One thing is for certain though – it will continue to dominate and shape our lives.

A look inside
  • Observation deck on level 124
  • Fine dining restaurant on level 122
  • 900 Burj Khalifa residences
  • 37 office floors
  • Armani Hotel Dubai
  • 160 guestrooms and suites
  • Armani Residences Dubai
  • 144 private residences
  • The Park
  • 11 hectares park, 6 water features
  • 3000 underground parking spaces
  • 4-storey fitness and recreation annex
  • Source: Burj Khalifa
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