So I decided to run an experiment. I drove to Westbrook, Maine on Sunday to see what was what. Here is the house my great-great grandfather, John Quigley built and that remained in my family for four generations. I use to spend my Christmas vacations here up to the mid 1970s:
As you can see the number is clearly 85 Haskell Street. That's the number it was when I was a little boy and has been the number for the life of the house. Here's the 1930 U.S. census showing my great-great-grandmother living there (her husband having died in 1929):
So here's the problem with google maps and the street view. Street views "guess" at the number of the houses based on the beginning and end of a street using the cross streets as markers. Unfortunately, the odd side of Haskell Street has no cross streets for a considerable length, and therefore, the numbers given do not match the numbers of the actual houses. So, if you type in 85 Haskell Street you get:
As you can the house at 85 Haskell is actually listed at 108 Haskell Street. So, because I am familiar with this house, I can't be fooled. However, if you are looking for an ancestral house using Google maps street view, you could be fooled into thinking a house you are seeing is the house for which you are searching. This is just a caveat.
I did many other searches. The house I live in at present is correct. So are the last two houses I lived at (in San Francisco, Cal., and Somerville, Mass.). The house I first lived in in Jersey City, N.J. is correct. My parents house does not appear at all and neither does my great-grandmother's house in Pennsylvania, which was then owned by my great-uncle and one I visited several times. It would be one I could recognize as well. Michael's home is incorrect on Google maps (albeit just one house off). So when Genealogy's Star says: "On Google Maps, using Street View, almost every street in the town has been photographed" I wonder what almost means. [It reminds me of old Hattie Rose, you used to say while playing bridge, I almost had a bid].
Clearly, my take is that urban areas do better. My houses (Boston, San Francisco, Jersey City) are there. Suburban and country places are either not there or inaccurate. So, heads up. Don't think that's great-granny's house as noted in the 1920 census.