Google Street View goes live in Germany
Google Street View has gone live in Germany this week, with a small town becoming the first in the country to appear on the search engine giant’s network. Controversy surrounded the development of Google Street View in Germany, as we reported here a couple of weeks ago, with many residents protesting at the plans, citing privacy and security concerns. Over 200,000 requests were filed by members of the public to have buildings obscured and the German government even got involved, insisting that Google should do their best to honour the requests.
Despite Google’s initial claim that fulfilling all the opt-out requests would be difficult, this first sight of Street View in Germany appears to show that it’s successful. The small town of Oberstaufen, near the border with Austria in central-southern Germany, was the chosen place for the unveiling of what Street View in Germany will look like. The area covered within the town is only small, limited to the main thoroughfares, and certainly nothing like the all-encompassing coverage we have grown to expect in the UK.
It does however give an idea of how Street View in Germany will manifest itself and the scale of the task ahead for Google, if they are indeed to honour all of the opt-out requests. The image above, for example, shows how a building has been blurred out of Street View in Germany, presumably at the request of the owner.
For one building, on one street, in one small town, this appears to work. But in a country of over 80 million people, a growing proportion of whom are unhappy with images of their homes being featured on Street View, the task ahead for Google is immense. They have already stated on their European Public Policy Blog that, when street view is launched for 20 of the country’s biggest cities, which is due to happen soon, they will not have fulfilled all of the opt-out requests. “Some people asked us to blur their house, but didn