Google and government bury hatchet over 'Street View'
AFP · 1 May 2010, 09:57
Published: 01 May 2010 09:57 GMT+02:00
Street View, already available for cities in the United States, Japan, Australia and some parts of Europe, allows users to view on the Web panoramic still photos at street level taken using specially equipped vehicles.
The groundbreaking technology, launched in the United States in 2007, has given rise to privacy concerns in Germany, which is especially sensitive to the issue due to abuses by the Nazis and communists in the past.
Officials were concerned that thieves could use pictures of private houses to gain illegal access and that photos of people were being published without their consent.
But before the service can go live in Germany, the firm has promised to black out properties if individuals raise concerns and also to make faces unrecognizable.
"What is private must remain private," said the minister.
A Google spokesman told AFP that the firm still intended to launch Street View in Germany this year. "There will be no delay," he said.
German officials have also demanded that Google stop collecting information about private "WiFi" wireless Internet networks with its special cars.
Google responded that it was not the only firm doing this and that German companies were carrying out similar operations.