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Google Street View goes online

The Local · 18 Nov 2010, 09:57

Published: 18 Nov 2010 09:57 GMT+01:00

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The US-based internet giant earlier this month offered a taste of the new service, which provides panoramic images of streets, public spaces and tourist attractions. But overnight Wednesday, the full system went up on the internet.

It covers 20 major German cities: Berlin, Bielefeld, Bochum, Bonn, Bremen, Dortmund, Dresden, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Leipzig, Mannheim, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Wuppertal.

Google was due to announce formally the launch of Street View in Hamburg on Thursday morning.

About 250,000 people have registered for their buildings to be digitally obscured in the images because they have privacy fears. The service sparked furious debate over the summer with several high-profile politicians blasting Street View for reasons as varied as simple privacy invasion to a potential aid for burglars.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told Thursday’s Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung warned Google to observe data privacy regulations.

“I can only warn Google not to take data protection lightly,” she said.

The faces of passers-by, car number plates and other personal data must be blurred out before any pictures were published.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger also reiterated her calls for new regulations on so-called “geo-data” services such as Street View. The technology industry should come up with a self-regulation system ahead of a major conference planned for December 7 “which conform with our standards for data protection.”

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Otherwise the government would be forced to regulate, she said. The government is in any case working on a discussion paper of the key issues, she added.

DAPD/The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:04 November 18, 2010 by sassylad
About time! The furore over Streetview has been ridiculous considering the number of sites that emulate it which already cover Germany and the Panorama laws which should have covered the photos google were taking.
14:38 November 18, 2010 by XFYRCHIEF
Let's see - you can record the private communication of someone who you suspect of being a terrorist, but you can't see what their house looks like because they blocked it out on Streetview.
15:29 November 18, 2010 by catjones
My entire apartment building is blurred. I guess one person's 'rights' trumps everyone else' s.
16:16 November 18, 2010 by dj_jay_smith
How old are the street view photos?

The one for my office shows a building next door which has been demolished for more than a year!

Makes you wonder when they started doing this.
16:27 November 18, 2010 by auniquecorn
Finally, Now I can start my new hobby,

Surf street view, When I see a pixeled picture, I go to google earth and say, GOTCHA
18:13 November 18, 2010 by ovbg
@catjones. Yeap, democracy at work. One person in your building can decide and dictate for everyone. Maybe you should write to Google and complain that your apartment was blocked without your consent and demand it's return.

The whole area around my building is blacked out and "under review". I wonder what they will do there as I live in an 18 story apartment building with 5 similar sized complexes attached. It's massive and would be amazing if one person can block out the hundreds of other apartments.

If it is blurred after the review I will certainly complain to Google. I want my friends and family around the world to finally be able to see where I live as I can see their homes.
19:14 November 18, 2010 by crm114
@ovbg - as the StreetView-o-philes here are constantly droning on about , you do of course realise that you have the RIGHT to step outside your door armed with nothing more than photo apparatus and record your 18 story (sic) apartment building in all of its architectural majesty and then, get this, distribute among all your global kith and kin. Alternatively, have a word with "auniquecorn" he may well be offering this service aus Leidenschaft.
00:47 November 19, 2010 by ebbelwoiguy
crm- Better yet, use that camera to upload pics to Panoramio. Better resolution and up to date. Take shots from each SV camera point for all round angles.

Eventually people will realise SV isn't a live camera feed but a single car that drives past once in years. Then the complaint will be how dated the coverage is.
08:14 November 19, 2010 by DoubleDTown
based on pics of Dresden, I'd say Google drove by late October/early November 2009. It's kind of annoying how many houses are blurred out. sort of defeats the point of Streetview, but it's nice it's finally up and running.
09:06 November 19, 2010 by catjones
@ebbelwoiguy - There are issues with Panoramio. No guarantee the photos will be assigned to Street View as evidenced by the comments in the forum. I uploaded a pic of my apt. building and will see if it gets published.

Imagine an individual living in the Empire State building declining the service and the entire building goes blank. If SV can blur a single face or license plate, it's too bad they can't blur a single floor or window.
09:24 November 19, 2010 by frankiep
The so called 'privacy' concerns here about a picture of your house being online are the height of stupidity. The next time a Germans state how 'paranoid' Americans are just ask them if it would be alright to walk down their street with a camera and take some pictures. This whole episode would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.
12:10 November 20, 2010 by ovbg
Some of the blurring instances are hilarious. I was looking through Nürnberg and an apartment in a historical building right on the river was blurred out. There was no street access to that view and only seen from the distance on a bridge. That was the first silly reason to request a block. The second was that it was in an obvious tourist area and so there were already dozens of high resolution photos of that very building already up on google.

Another crazy one was an entire highrise apartment block I saw blurred. I wonder if one person complained and then all had to comply.
00:42 November 26, 2010 by ErickDDiaz
There is a camera in your LapTops looking at you right now.
21:55 November 27, 2010 by ColoSlim
Berlin was driven summer 2007. Sometimes parked cars disappear if you move across an intersection from one street to the other. My neighbor left his garbage can lid open and I don't think anyone gives a darn.
14:17 December 15, 2010 by MonkeyMania
So, the local haven't opted to opt out of Street View at it's office location in Berlin Mitte on Schwedter Straße.
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