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Google butchers Cologne Cathedral
Photo: Google screenshot.

Google butchers Cologne Cathedral

Published: 05 Jun 2012 15:46 GMT+02:00

It took centuries to build the double spires, but only the click of a mouse cut them down to size – if only on screen.

The image of the Gothic masterpiece on Google's latest feature, supposed to showcase the world's greatest cultural achievements, turns the proud, twin skyward thrust of the cathedral into a sad heap.

The image of what seems to be a podgy village church was taken with the same "camera cars" that produced Google Street View - the virtual interactive map which allows users to explore the world's roads via their computer.

Barbara Schock-Werner, a master builder who takes care of the cathedral building, was horrified when she saw the images.

"This can't be true! That's awful, completely horrendous!" she told the regional Express newspaper. "If you want to introduce people to the wonders of the world, then the pictures should bear some vague resemblance to the reality."

Schock-Werner is now planning to write a strongly-worded letter to the management of the world's biggest search engine to complain about the unfortunate truncation.

According to Google, because the cathedral is so tall and surrounded by such narrow streets, the cameras were not able to get far enough away to capture the entire building. Consequently, the picture had to be assembled out of several separate images.

So far, Google World Wonders covers 132 landmarks in 18 countries. "We will continually expand and develop the project ... and keep publishing images of new wonders," Stefan Keuchel of Google Germany told the paper.

"We hope that in the course of one of these updates we'll be able to show the Cologne Cathedral in all its glory."

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:28 June 5, 2012 by blackboot11
actually, I am very surprised that this image is not blurred out like most of Germany is on google....LOL!
20:16 June 5, 2012 by GetPaidDaily
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:16 June 5, 2012 by wood artist
For some time I've watched the "brawl" between Germans/Germany and Google. Most of the time I've felt that Google wasn't really the "bad guy" although I did struggle with their admission of collecting WiFi data as they took their pictures. The pictures, on the other hand, are harmless. I'm in one of them in the middle of Berlin, which was purely accidental, but the blurring of information that anyone could gather simply by walking down the street seemed dumb.

This, however, is clearly wrong. If Google wants to showcase great cultural icons, which is a laudable goal, then they need to provide accurate pictures. If they can't take the picture with their "car" then they need to get out of the car and take a proper picture by hand. In fact, I've got many of the Dom, and I'd be happy to share. Heck, I'd even waive any fee or credit.

This reminds me of National Geographic "moving" the Great Pyramid in Egypt to compose a "better image" for their magazine cover. Dumb! Really Dumb! If you want people to respect his building for the wonder that it is, then...start by respecting it yourself. After all, Google, the Dom represents 600 years of effort by generations of Germans. You could spend a couple minutes out of your busy day to honor that commitment.

wa
10:51 June 6, 2012 by Landmine
It's free, you Germans should just quit your whining....
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