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Google offers German Street View preview

The Local · 2 Nov 2010, 11:25

Published: 02 Nov 2010 11:25 GMT+01:00

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The company put the images online overnight to tantalise users ahead of its plans to launch the full navigation service for Germany’s 20 largest cities by the end of 2010.

Users can go to a page entitled “Street View Gallery” to circle Berlin’s famous Victory Column and pass by the Chancellery, or see sights in Dresden, Munich, Hamburg and Stuttgart on a virtual sightseeing tour entitled kleine Deutschlandreise, or “little German trip.”

An example of the full service can also be viewed along one street of the small mountain community Oberstaufen in the southern Allgäu region – here users can also see a home that has been blurred out by Google in compliance with their opt-out programme for residents concerned about privacy.

With about 7,000 residents, Oberstaufen is not among Germany’s 20 largest cities, but their tourism society reportedly requested that Google place images of their community online as soon as possible.

The milky filter placed over the homes will not be unusual once the full Street View service launches. More than 244,000 German residents and owners of businesses and residential buildings chose to opt-out of being pictured online.

According to Google’s assessment last month, the number of people who opted-out of the programme did not correspond with the widespread controversy over the online navigation service.

Some national surveys reportedly predicted that the number of people taking advantage of the opt-out programme could reach up to 50 percent of German households.

Renters and owners who don’t want their buildings posted on the internet for the world to see were allowed to use normal post or an online form to register their objections until October 15. Those living outside the 20 cities launching the German version of the service can still register an objection after the deadline.

Following intense criticism from data protection advocates and politicians, Google extended the opt-out programme to eight weeks in August.

Street View offers street-level pictures of the facades of residences and businesses, allowing users to take a virtual walk through a city without actually being there. The sequential images are taken by cameras mounted on cars that drive around the city.

Story continues below…

The company has already used car-mounted cameras to collect the panoramic images for the service in 23 other countries. But in Germany, resistance to Street View has been profound.

The German cities Google plans to feature on Street View by year’s end are: Berlin, Bielefeld, Bochum, Bonn, Bremen, Dortmund, Dresden, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Leipzig, Mannheim, München, Nürnberg, Stuttgart und Wuppertal.

DPA/The Local/ka

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Your comments about this article

13:14 November 2, 2010 by delvek
Great, now we can add one more country to the list of places one can stay home on their fat asses and drive through from their soiled computer chair.
13:32 November 2, 2010 by William Thirteen
someone ought to get out there and straighten up that leaning Siegessaeule before it endangers traffic!
14:42 November 2, 2010 by Landmine

That bird nest on the 3rd tree is not blurred and you can totally see the 3 German birds that live there!!!! Somebody call the German Government and the police for violating the privacy of those poor German birds and their home!!!! hey did not even blur their poor faces and now the world knows what they look like and where they live!!!!!!

Shame on you Google -baaad, baaaad company!!!! There are privacy laws in Germany you know....
15:18 November 2, 2010 by origamichick
Aaah, poor-man's vacation to Germany :)
15:36 November 4, 2010 by moistvelvet
If Street View was available in Jamaica, Barbados or parts of the US then I wouldn't have wasted time visiting them, or at least forewarned not to expect much.
12:31 November 19, 2010 by mixxim
'You got my bad side - take it again, but I'll turn around!'
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