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Not sure how it works, but anyone can have images included on the google map. Most are those 360 degree photos. Zoom in somewhere, such as a road along a beach. Then switch to the street view thing on that road. Then in the small map in the lower left, zoom in somewhere until you see the blue circles. Those are usually the 360 degree photos that someone made available (not exactly sure what platform the do that on, that gets integrated into google maps). In the upper-left label, you can see whose photo it is.
In other places/hikes/businesses, you will sometimes see they were done by the Google person w/ the backpack.
In fact, if you want to hike and photograph a trail or other 'sight' so that it can be included in Google Street View, Google will lend you a camera pack. You need to be a very serious hiker, though. Last time I checked, a couple of years ago, the pack weighed something like 40 pounds (18 kg, for those who don't think in pounds).