Street View goes live in Germany with blurred images

The launch of Google's street-level imagery follows months of debate over privacy issues in Germany

Google gingerly launched a select set of Street View images for Germany on Tuesday, a country where it has faced some of the most fierce opposition to the imagery application.

Google released images of famous landmarks in Munich, Stuttgart, Dresden, Oberstaufen, Berlin as well as Hamburg, which is located in the same state where data protection officials and prosecution continue to investigate the Street View program. The company plans to release full imagery by the end of the year for 14 other German cities.

A Google spokeswoman said no complaint had been received by the company on Tuesday.

The company chose Oberstaufen since its mayor and local tourist board asked Google to release the imagery, according to the company. Google also published an image of a cake with lettering that read "Street View Willkommen in Oberstaufen."

Google has been keen to play down opposition to Street View in Germany. To tame privacy concerns, the company allowed people to request that their properties be blurred from Street View prior to the service going live -- the only country where Google allowed that to happen.

In mid-October, Google said it received close to 250,000 opt-outs, which represented roughly three per cent of the households in the areas where Street View will launch. About two-thirds of those opt-outs came via an online tool Google opened up in August to receive the requests, with others coming from letters and e-mail requests.

Despite the warm welcome from Oberstaufen officials, some properties in the city are blurred, reflecting that some requests were made by citizens to Google to not participate.

Also, progressing down one street eventually showed a black screen with the message "This image is under review and will be available soon."

Meanwhile, Hamburg's Data Protection Agency and the city's prosecutor's office continue to investigate Google's Street View vehicles, which had been collecting data traffic from unencrypted Wi-Fi routers at the same time those vehicles were collecting images. Neither agency could be immediately reached on Tuesday afternoon.

The company halted the program. Other countries, including Spain and South Korea, area also examining whether the program violated data protection laws.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesGoogleregulationMapssecuritygovernmentprivacy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?