Google Street View

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Google Street View
E Trade St and Brevard St.jpg
An intersection in Charlotte, North Carolina, showing multiple angles.
Initial release May 25, 2007 (2007-05-25)
Last release date:
2009-06-10; 12 years ago
Location added:
Disneyland Resort Paris, France
Language English, Spanish, French
Website Google Maps

Google Street View is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that provides for many streets in the world 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic views from a row of positions along the street (one in every 10 or 20 meters, or so), from a height of about 2.5 meters. It was launched on May 25, 2007, and has gradually expanded to include more cities, and in these cities more streets, and also some rural areas.[1] These photographs are currently available for countries including United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Coverage is shown by dragging "pegman" from its position, on a map of any scale.

Google Street View displays scans taken from a fleet of Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Astra or Toyota Prius cars in North America, Opel Astras in continental Europe and the United Kingdom, Holden Astras in Australia and New Zealand, Toyota Prius cars in Japan and Fiat Stilos in Brazil [2]. Pedestrian areas, narrow streets and park alleys that cannot be accessed by car are not always covered. However, sometimes Google Trikes[citation needed] (tricycles) are used.[3] On each of these cars (and tricycles) there are nine directional cameras for the 360° views, GPS units for positioning, 3 laser range scanners, manufactured by SICK, for the measuring of up to 50 meters 180° in the front of the vehicle. On the cars there's also 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas for scanning 3G/GSM and Wi-Fi hotspots.[4] Recent, high quality images are based on open source hardware cameras from Elphel. These cameras are also used by Google book search.[5]

Where available, street view images appear after zooming in beyond the highest zooming level in maps and satellite images, and also by dragging "pegman" to some position. Using the keyboard or mouse the horizontal and vertical viewing direction and the zoom level can be selected. A straight or broken line in the photo shows the approximate path followed by the camera car; two arrows link to the next photo in each direction. At junctions and crossings of camera car routes, more arrows are shown.

On November 21, 2008, Street View was added to the Maps application installed on all of Apple iPhones. On December 10, 2008, Street View was added to the Maps application for S60 3rd Edition. Street view has now also been added to the Windows Mobile version of Google Maps. All versions of Google Maps for Android feature street view, and the digital compass can be used to look around the locations.

Development

Note: Bold means which locations are available in High Quality view, and italic bold indicates which locations are partially available in High Quality view. In locations where High Quality view exists, it is possible to navigate along a street for a "virtual drive" at around 25 mph.

Date Locations added
May 25, 2007 File:Flag of the United States.svg San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Miami, New York City
August 7, 2007 File:Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Orlando
October 9, 2007 File:Flag of the United States.svg Portland, Phoenix, Tucson, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia
December 10, 2007 File:Flag of the United States.svg Dallas, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Providence, Boston
February 12, 2008 File:Flag of the United States.svg Juneau, Boise, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Raleigh, Albany, Manchester
March 27, 2008 File:Flag of the United States.svg Anchorage, Fairbanks, Spokane, Yosemite National Park, Albuquerque, Austin, Little Rock, Rockford, Madison, Nashville, Cleveland, Tampa, Richmond
June 10, 2008 File:Flag of the United States.svg Sacramento, Fresno, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Jackson, Louisville, Atlanta, Columbus, Jacksonville, Columbia, Charlotte, Buffalo, Virginia Beach, Yellowstone National Park
July 2, 2008 2008 Tour de France route:
France Aigurande, Auray, Bourg d'Oisans, Brest, Brioude, Cérilly, Cholet, Embrun, Étampes, Figeac, Lannemezan, Lavelanet, Nantes, Saint-Malo and more
File:Flag of Italy.svg Cuneo
August 4, 2008 Australia Adelaide, Albany, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Broken Hill, Cairns, Canberra, Geraldton, Hobart, Karratha, Melbourne, Mount Isa, Perth, Rockhampton, Sydney, Tamworth
Japan Chiba, Hakodate, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Saitama, Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Yokohama
File:Flag of the United States.svg New Orleans, Baton Rouge
October 14, 2008 France Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Lille, Toulouse
October 27, 2008 Spain Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Valencia
October 29, 2008 File:Flag of Italy.svg Florence, Milan, Rome, Lake Como (including Bellagio, Bellano, Cernobbio, Como, Lecco, Malgrate, Varenna and more)
November 4, 2008 File:Flag of the United States.svg Seattle, Washington, D.C., Baltimore
December 1, 2008 New Zealand Major part of New Zealand
December 9, 2008 File:Flag of the United States.svg More locations in United States
Australia More areas in Australia
March 18, 2009 England London, Oxford, Cambridge, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Bradford, Scunthorpe, Bristol, Norwich, Newcastle upon Tyne, Birmingham, Coventry, Liverpool, Southampton, York and more
United Kingdom Belfast, Carrickfergus, Larne, Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland
Wales Cardiff, Swansea, Barry
Scotland Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Arbroath, Carnoustie, Ellon, Forfar, Fraserburgh, Inverurie, Peterhead, Portlethen, Stonehaven, Westhill and more
France Paris (metropolitan area: Versailles, Orly, Rueil-Malmaison, Nanterre, Saint-Denis, Boulogne-Billancourt, Champigny-sur-Marne), Amiens, Calais, Dunkerque, Lens, Douai, Tourcoing, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, Valenciennes, Le Havre, Rouen, Reims, Châlons-en-Champagne, Caen, Rennes, Nantes, Angers, Troyes, Strasbourg, Haguenau, Poitiers, Dijon, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Montpellier, Aix-en-Provence, Toulon, Cannes, Antibes, Valence, Romans-sur-Isère, Saint-Étienne, Grenoble
File:Flag of Italy.svg Turin, Novara, Monza, Udine, Genova, Parma, Bologna, Livorno, Arezzo, Perugia, L'Aquila, Fiumicino, Caserta, Naples, Avellino, Salerno, Bari, Bitonto, Reggio di Calabria, Catania, Cagliari
Spain Madrid (metropolitan area: Madrid, Alcobendas, Coslada, Fuenlabrada, Móstoles, Getafe, Arganda del Rey and more), Oviedo, Sabadell, Terrassa, Zaragoza
Netherlands Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Rotterdam, Groningen, Spijkenisse, Volendam, Zaanstad
File:Flag of the United States.svg More locations in United States
June 10, 2009 France Paris

Google Street View was first introduced in the United States on May 25, 2007, and until November 26, 2008, featured camera icon markers, each representing at least one major city or area (such as a park), and usually the other nearby cities, towns, suburbs, and parks. Many areas that had coverage were not represented by icons.

  • On May 12, 2008, Google announces that it is testing face-blurring technology on its photos of the busy streets of Manhattan. [6] The technology uses a computer algorithm to search Google's image database for faces and blurs them, according to John Hanke, director of Google Earth and Google Maps.[7]
  • On April 16, 2008, Street View was fully integrated into Google Earth 4.3.
  • On July 2, 2008, Google Street View was introduced in France and Italy, providing the first service outside the United States. On this day, 19 camera icons were added, mostly showing small towns and areas along the Tour de France route and part of north western Italy
  • On August 4, 2008, Australia and Japan were added to Google Street View. On this day, 28 icons were added, featuring major metropolitan areas of Japan as well as the bulk of Australia. Included in the update were approximately 40 new U.S. hub cities.
  • On December 1, 2008, New Zealand was added to Google Street View. Faces were blurred upon recommendation by the New Zealand Privacy Commission, but vehicle registration plates were not obscured.
  • Two other features included in the June 10, 2008 update were an effective mask of the "Google" car and the application of face-blurring technology on all photos, which effectively lowered the resolution across all photos, even the formerly impressive high resolution images of San Francisco. Also, many nearby metro areas were included, but they did not receive their own camera icons. Google initially used images from spherical video company Immersive Media as well as their own vehicles. Since December 2007, Google has used imagery that belongs exclusively to Google.
  • On 26 November 2008, the Street View Button and all the camera icon were deleted. Instead of clicking the "Street View" button, you can now click on the "pegman" button in the left hand corner. If you drag "pegman" over the map and where Street View is available the blue polylines will appear on the map and a small window will show the current Street View. If you drop "pegman" on the map the Street View opens and takes over the whole map window.
  • On April 9, 2009 Street View became available with a full-screen option.
  • On June 5, 2009 Smart Navigation was introduced which allows users to navigate around the panoramas by double-clicking with their cursor on any place or object they want to see.[8]

By location

Countries where Google Street View is available (dark blue) and planned (light blue).

Google Street View was first introduced in the United States on May 25, 2007, and only covered areas of the United States until July 2, 2008. Currently, images can be seen in at least nine countries (although parts of other countries can be seen from locations located near national borders; for example, large portions of Vatican City can be viewed from Rome's streetview). Introductions have generally occurred every 2 days to 100 days. Up until November 26, 2008, major cities (and early on, the only cities) were marked by camera icons, more of which were added each time. Then, all camera icons were discontinued in favor simply of "blue" coverage.

North America

The United States was the first country to have Street View images and was the only country with images for over a year following introduction. Early on, most locations had a limited number of views, usually constrained to the city limits and only including major streets, and they only showed the buildings up to a certain height. Few suburbs or other nearby cities were included.

After the first few sets of introductions, image collections from cities added were more detailed, often including every side street, especially in areas closer to the center of the city. More suburbs and other nearby cities were included.

The coverage of various cities has in many cases, subsequently been enlarged and improved, but not necessarily on the same date as new cities have been added. Improvements have included the additions of streets in neighborhoods where previously only main roads had been covered, expansions to more suburbs, and views to the sky where previously only views to a certain height were provided.

Initially when a group of cities were added, only those cities and their own suburbs would be a part of the image collection. But June 10, 2008 introductions also included cities in covered areas without camera icons and isolated from any other camera icons. Many more cities were added without icons on August 4, when the only U.S. city added with an icon was New Orleans.

On November 4, 2008, three more U.S. cities were added: Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Seattle. More parts of Seattle are available in high quality view (like Mercer Island and center of the city).

On December 9, 2008, extensive coverage of the United States was added. This included full coverage of all large and most medium-sized urban areas and most major highways and connecting arteries throughout the 48 contiguous states.

On March 18, 2009, extensive coverage of the United States was added including most of the coverage of Delaware, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. For a period of time some coverage was deleted (such as in northern Minnesota.)

The only state as of this date that does not have coverage is Hawaiʻi. This will soon change as Google Street View cars have been spotted in Honolulu in April 2009.[9]

On a trivial point, it should be noted that many small parts of Canada can be seen on Street View where the cars have stopped just short of the International Boundary between the two countries. This is most notable between Manitoba and North Dakota.

In Canada, Google Street View cars have been spotted in early April 2009. In Mexico, first reports of sightings came in from Mexico City as early as April 2009 and now Google Street View cars are being spotted in many Mexican states.

Europe

The first views anywhere outside the United States were introduced on July 2, 2008, when the Tour de France route was added. Nineteen camera icons, each indicating part of a French city or town and Cuneo, Italy were included.

On October 14, 2008, camera icons were introduced in six French cities, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Toulouse. At the same time, all other icons that had been introduced in France on July 2, as well as the one of Cuneo, Italy, were removed, representing the first time in Street View's history that a camera icon that once marked a place was removed. But the amount of coverage that France had since July 2 was not diminished.

On October 27, 2008, four Spanish metropolitan areas were added to the list of growing street view locations in Europe. These include Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Valencia.

On October 29, 2008, Italy received four camera icons for the localities of Florence, Milan, Rome, and Lake Como.

On March 18, 2009, United Kingdom and Netherlands were added. In the case of Great Britain, until now only major centers have been uploaded and coverage of those city centers is not 100%. For example, as of mid-April 2009, Edinburgh is missing Street View images of two of its key thoroughfares: Princes Street and the Royal Mile (although portions of both are visible from adjoining streets that have been imaged).

In May 2009 Google Germany released a list of German cities that will be scanned or rescanned in May & June 2009. [10]

Asia

Japan was also introduced on August 4, 2008. Japan's coverage is currently concentrated in five areas with a total of 10 camera icons. The service has faced criticisms from some in Japan of cultural insensitivity.[11] The Google Street View Cars were seen in Ishinomaki, Nagoya, Kitanagoya, Niigata, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Naha and Miyakojima.[12]

Google Street View camera cars were spotted in the streets of Singapore on October 2008. Google has confirmed the fact that the Google Street View would be coming to Singapore a few months later.[13]

In early 2009, camera cars with the Google Street View labels were spotted in Hong Kong's streets. As of March 2009 the Google Street View camera car was also seen roaming the streets of Taipei, Taiwan.

Oceania

On August 4, 2008, the long-anticipated image collection of Australia was introduced. At this time, the bulk of Australia was included in detail, with 18 camera icons. Extensive mapping of New Zealand was included on December 1, 2008. On December 9, 2008 Darwin, Australia and other locations were included.

Areas included

This list is not comprehensive as Google is adding new locations regularly.


United States

State Major cities/areas
Alabama Anniston, Auburn, Birmingham, Decatur, Dothan, Florence, Gadsden, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Opelika, Tuscaloosa
Alaska Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau
Arizona Ajo, Benson, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Gila Bend, Globe, Douglas, Eloy, Florence, Holbrook, Kayenta, Kingman, Mohave Valley, Nogales, Payson, Phoenix, Prescott, Safford, Show Low, Snowflake, Tombstone, Tonopah, Tucson, Wickenburg, Willcox, Winslow, Yuma
Arkansas Conway, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Searcy, Texarkana
California Bakersfield, Riverside, Chico, Eureka, Fresno, Los Angeles, Modesto, Oakland, Orange County, Sacramento, San Jose, Stockton, Fremont, Twentynine Palms, Visalia, Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Sequoia National Park,Santa Barbara, Salinas, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Sebastopol, Ventura, Yosemite National Park McArthur, Fall River Mills, Cassel, Burney, Rancho Cucamonga
Colorado Alamosa, Boulder, Burlington, Canon City, Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Granby, Grand Junction, Greeley, Montrose, Pueblo, Steamboat Springs,Sterling ,Trinidad, Vail, Walsenburg
Connecticut Bristol, Burlington, Groton, Hartford, New Haven, North Stamford, Norwich
Delaware Milford, Wilmington
District of Columbia Washington
Florida Hialeah, Daytona Beach, Everglades National Park, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Walton Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Miami, North Port, Ocala, Orlando, Panama City, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa, Venice, West Palm Beach, Pensacola
Georgia Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Rome, Savannah, Valdosta
Idaho Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Nampa, Pocatello, Twin Falls, Lewiston
Illinois Carbondale, Chester, Chicago, Danville, Dixon, Freeport, Galena, Gurnee, Lincoln, Mount Vernon, Murphysboro, Peoria, Rockford, Salem, Springfield
Indiana Anderson, Bloomington, Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, Marion, Muncie, Plymouth, Portage, Richmond, South Bend, Terre Haute
Iowa Ames, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Dubuque, Grinnell, Newton
Kansas Emporia, Hutchinson, Kansas City, Manhattan, Topeka, Wichita, Lawrence,Garden City,Dodge City,Great Bend,Larned,Liberal
Kentucky Ashland, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Glasgow, Hazard, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Lexington, London, Louisville, Morehead, Owensboro, Prestonsburg
Louisiana Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans, Shreveport
Maine Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bar Harbor, Bath, Belfast, Berwick, Brewer, Biddeford, Brunswick, Bucksport, Camden, Caribou, Dexter, Ellsworth, Farmington, Gardiner, Houlton, Kittery, Lewiston, Livermore Falls, Madison, Newport, Old Orchard Beach, Old Town, Orono, Pittsfield, Portland, Presque Isle, Rockland, Saco, Sanford, Skowhegan, Thomaston, Waterville, Wiscasset, York
Maryland Annapolis, Baltimore, Frederick, Germantown, Rockville, Salisbury
Massachusetts Boston, Lowell, Springfield, Worcester, Nantucket
Michigan Adrian, Ann Arbor, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Holland,Houghton, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette, Monroe, Sault Ste. Marie, Traverse City, Port Huron
Minnesota Alexandria, Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Minneapolis, Rochester, Saint Cloud, Saint Paul
Mississippi Biloxi, Cleveland, Greenville, Gulfport, Picayune, Hattiesburg, Indianola, Jackson, Meridian
Missouri Bethany, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin, Kansas City, Maryville, Rolla, St. Louis, Springfield, Warrensburg
Montana Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Missoula
Nebraska Lincoln(part), Omaha(part), North Platte, Scottsbluff
Nevada Carson City, Elko, Las Vegas, Reno, Winnemucca
New Hampshire Manchester, Nashua
New Jersey Cherry Hill, Jersey City, Newark, Berlin, New Brunswick, Old Bridge, Paterson, Plainfield
New Mexico Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Artesia, Carlsbad, Carrizozo, Cloudcroft, Clovis, Deming, Eunice, Farmington, Gallup, Hobbs, Jal, Las Cruces, Lordsburg, Los Alamos, Los Lunas, Lovington, Portales, Raton, Roswell, Ruidoso, Santa Fe, Socorro, Taos, Truth or Consequences, Tucumcari
New York Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse(part), Long Island(part), Niagara Falls, Westchester(part)
North Carolina Asheville, Atlantic Beach, Burlington(part), Cape Carteret, Cary, Charlotte, Durham, Emerald Isle, Fayetteville, Gastonia, Greensboro, Greenville, Goldsboro, Hickory, High Point, Indian Beach, Jacksonville, Kernersville, Kitty Hawk, Morehead City, Raleigh, Swansboro, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill
North Dakota Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot
Ohio Akron, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Springfield, Toledo, Marietta, Mansfield
Oklahoma Lawton, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Tahlequah, Muskogee, Fort Gibson, Sand Springs, Ada,Guymon, Enid
Oregon Corvallis, Eugene, Portland, Salem, McMinnville
Pennsylvania Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton(part)
Rhode Island Providence, Warwick
South Carolina Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Orangeburg, Bluffton, Hilton Head
South Dakota Rapid City, Pierre, Aberdeen
Tennessee Chattanooga, Clarksville, Cookeville, Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Morristown, Limestone
Texas Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Dawson, El Paso, Fort Worth, Fort Stockton, Galveston, Houston, Kerrville, Killeen, Laredo, Lubbock, McAllen, Midland, Odessa, Sabine Pass, San Angelo, San Antonio, Seguin, Texarkana, Tyler, Uvalde, Victoria, Waco, Wichita Falls
Utah Cedar City, Ogden, Provo, Saint George, Salt Lake City
Virginia Chesapeake, Lynchburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Northern Virginia, Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg
Washington Vancouver, Bremerton, Mount St. Helens, Seattle, Spokane, Issaquah, Preston, Everett, Olympia(part), Lacey, Aberdeen, Eatonville, Raymond, Elma, Rochester, Montesano, Port Angeles, Sequim and more
West Virginia Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg, Wheeling
Wisconsin Appleton, Ashland, Beloit, Green Bay, Janesville, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oregon, Oshkosh, Superior, Wausau
Wyoming Casper, Cheyenne, Laramie, Jackson,Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park

Oceania

Australia

State/Territory Major cities/areas
Australian Capital Territory Canberra
New South Wales Sydney, Central Coast, Newcastle, Wollongong, Maitland‎, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Queanbeyan, Dubbo, Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Goulburn, Armidale, Broken Hill, Ballina, Griffith, Byron Bay
Northern Territory Darwin, Palmerston, Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek
Queensland Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Toowoomba, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Mount Isa
South Australia Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Ceduna
Tasmania Hobart, Launceston, Burnie
Victoria Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, Geelong, Warrnambool, Horsham
Western Australia Perth, Bunbury, Mandurah, Geraldton, Albany, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Port Hedland, Esperance, Broome, Kununurra

New Zealand

Region Major cities/areas
Northland Whangarei, Kawakawa, Kohukohu
Auckland Auckland, Waitakere, Manukau
Waikato Hamilton, Taupo, Ngaruawahia, Te Awamutu, Putaruru, Ngatea
Bay of Plenty Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatane, Ngongotaha, Maketu
Gisborne Gisborne
Hawke's Bay Napier, Hastings
Taranaki New Plymouth, Hawera, Stratford, Eltham, Opunake, Inglewood
Manawatu-Wanganui Palmerston North, Ashhurst, Levin, Taumarunui, Marton
Wellington Wellington, Upper Hutt, Porirua, Paraparaumu, Wairarapa
Tasman Richmond, Motueka, Takaka
Nelson Nelson
Marlborough Blenheim
West Coast Westport
Canterbury Christchurch, Timaru, Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs
Otago Dunedin, Queenstown, Balclutha, Wanaka
Southland Invercargill, Gore

Europe

Country Major cities/areas
United Kingdom England: Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester ,Bradford, Scunthorpe, Bristol, London, Gateshead, Norwich, Newcastle upon Tyne, Birmingham, Coventry, Liverpool, Southampton, York, Cambridge, Oxford, Watford

Scotland: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Paisley
Wales: Cardiff, Barry, Swansea
Northern Ireland: Belfast

France Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Lille, Toulouse, Aigurande, Angers, Auray, Bourg d'Oisans, Brest, Brioude, Cérilly, Cholet, Embrun, Étampes, Figeac, Lannemezan, Lavelanet, Lourdes, Narbonne, Nantes, Nîmes, Pau, Rennes, Roanne, Roubaix, Saint-Malo,
Italy Florence, Milan, Naples, Rome (including parts of Vatican City), Lake Como, Arezzo, Bari, Bellagio, Bellano, Busto Arsizio, Cagliari, Caserta, Catania, Cernobbio, Colico, Como, Cuneo, L'Aquila, Lecco, Livorno, Mandello del Lario, Malgrate, Parma, Perugia, Reggio di Calabria, Turin, Udine, Varenna
Netherlands Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Barendrecht, Edam, Groningen, Rotterdam, Spijkenisse, Volendam, Weesp, Zaanstad, Zwanenburg, Wormerveer,
Spain Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Alboraya, Badalona, Burjasot, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Mislata, Montgat, Quart de Poblet, Sant Adrià de Besòs, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Xirivella, Oviedo, Saragossa, Alcobendas, Alcorcón, Boadilla del Monte, Coslada, Collado Villalba, Fuenlabrada, Getafe, Las Rozas, Leganés, Majadahonda, Móstoles, Parla, Pinto, Pozuelo de Alarcón, San Fernando de Henares, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Torrelodones, Tres Cantos, Badalona, Castelldefels, Gavà, Rubí, Sabadell, Terrassa and more

Japan

Region Major cities/areas
Hokkaidŝ Sapporo, Hakodate
Tŝhoku Sendai
Kantŝ Chiba, Saitama, Tokyo, Yokohama
Kansai Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara

Future

German Google Cars at Rin Grand Hotel in Bucharest, Romania (December 14, 2008)

Google has stated that its ultimate goal is to provide street views of the entire world, although the company has not disclosed in advance the exact dates when any particular locations will be added.[14]

Continent Countries & Regions
Asia  Hong Kong[15][16], [17][18], [19], (Taipei)[20]
Europe [21][22], [23][24], (Prague)[25][26], [27][28],
[29][30][31], [32], [33][34][35], 1[36][37][38],
(Budapest)[39][40], [41][42], [43][44][45], [46], [47],
[48][49][50], [51][52], [53][54], (Bucharest[55][56], Oradea[57]),
 Spain[58][59][60], [61], [62], [63][64][65]
Americas [66][67][68], , [69][70], (Hawaii)[71][72]

Privacy issues

Privacy advocates have objected to this Google feature, pointing to views found to show men leaving strip clubs, protesters at an abortion clinic, sunbathers in bikinis, cottagers at public parks, parents hitting their children, people picking up prostitutes and people engaging in activities visible from public property in which they do not wish to be seen publicly.[73] Google maintains that the photos were taken from public property. Before launching the service, Google removed photos of domestic violence shelters, and it allows users to flag inappropriate or sensitive imagery for Google to review and remove.[74] When the service was first launched, the process for requesting that an image be removed was not trivial,[75] but Google has changed its policy to make removal more straightforward.[76] Images of potential break-ins, sunbathers, and individuals entering adult bookstores have, however, remained active and these images have been widely republished.[77][78]

In Europe, the creation of Google Street View may not be legal in all jurisdictions. Some European countries have laws prohibiting the filming without consent of an individual on public property for the purpose of public display.[79]

United States

One of Google's responses to concerns about privacy laws outside the United States has been a pledge to blur the faces of people who are filmed. Google began blurring faces on 13 May 2008[80] and the images published since then, including the first launch of images in Europe on 2 July 2008, have all used face blurring (this process is automated; as a result even facial images on posters and billboards are often blurred).

Google delayed the release of its street views of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area following concern expressed by the United States Department of Homeland Security that some of the images taken might be of security-sensitive areas.[81]

The Pentagon has banned Google from publishing Street View content of U.S. Military bases and asked Google to remove existing content of bases. Google has complied with this order.[82]

Some parents have expressed concern over Street View compromising the security of their children.[83]

Aaron and Christine Boring, a Pittsburgh couple, sued Google for "invasion of privacy". Street View made a photo of their home available online, and they claimed that this diminished the value of their house, which they had chosen for its privacy.[84] They lost their case in a Pennsylvania court. "While it is easy to imagine that many whose property appears on Google's virtual maps resent the privacy implications, it is hard to believe that any – other than the most exquisitely sensitive – would suffer shame or humiliation," Judge Hay ruled.[85]

Some cities in the United States where all streets are privately owned have asked Google to remove Street View images because their consent was not given. North Oaks, Minnesota may have been the first. In that case, Google complied.[86]

Canada

While Canada, like other jurisdictions, has raised the issue of privacy concerns regarding Google Street View, the presence of Google cameras in one Canadian city in March 2009 gave rise to a different complaint. Les MacPherson, a columnist with the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, complained in a March 28, 2009, column that the timing of the imaging, at the end of a protracted winter season and before the true onset of spring would cast an unfavorable image of Saskatoon and other cities. "What worries me more than any loss of privacy is the prospect of presenting to the world a highly unflattering impression of Canadian cities. With the possible exception of Victoria, they do not show off well in the spring. Google could not have picked a more inauspicious time to do its scanning. Saskatoon is unfortunately typical. For Google to record its images of the city at this most visually unappealing time of year is like photographing a beautiful woman who has just awakened from a six-month coma," he wrote.[87]

United Kingdom

In the first days of launch the UK service drew criticism due to privacy.[88] Images were found of a man leaving a sex shop, a man vomiting and another man being arrested. Some images were removed including those surrounding Downing Street.[89][90]

The service drew criticism in Belfast that it represented a "reckless" security risk, particularly for showing the exteriors of army bases and police stations so soon after the killing of two soldiers in the 2009 Massereene Barracks shooting, and a police officer.[91]

Soon after the launch human rights watchdog Privacy International sent a formal complaint about the service to the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which cited more than 200 reports from members of the public who were identifiable on Street View images. Privacy International director Simon Davies said that the organisation had filed the complaint due to the "clear embarrassment and damage" Street View had caused to many Britons. He said that Street View fell short of the assurances given by Google to the ICO in July 2008 that had enabled its launch, namely that privacy would be protected by blurring faces and vehicle licence plates, and asked for the system to be "switched off" while an investigation was completed. He said the few cases where Google's face blurring system had failed meant the data used by Street View would fall under UK Data Protection legislation, which requires that subjects give permission for the use of information concerning them.[92]

Davies subsequently sent an open letter to Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, accusing the company of briefing journalists against him, claiming Davies was biased in favour of Microsoft. Google has pointed to connections between Microsoft and data protection consultancy 80/20 Thinking, run by Davies, and has said that Davies' connections to Microsoft should be made clear in public, as the credibility of his criticisms is undermined by the fact that he acts as a consultant to companies who are direct rivals and critics of Google; a fact Davies rarely discloses in press releases or comments.[93]

However, on 23 April 2009, the Information Commissioner ruled that although Google Street View carries a small risk of privacy invasion it should not be stopped. They ruled that "There is no law against anyone taking pictures of people in the street as long as the person using the camera is not harassing people". They also ruled that Google Street View does not contravene the Data Protection Act, as an image of a house held on Street View is not a data protection matter, as data protection is about people's personal information.[94][95]

On 3 April 2009, it was reported in the press that residents of the village of Broughton in Buckinghamshire formed a human barrier to stop a Google car from photographing the village,[96] expressing fears that it was "invading [the villagers'] privacy" and "facilitating crime".[97] As also reported in the press, contrary reactions have come from some Internet users, who have called on people to "descend on the village to snap their own perfectly legal photographs".[98]

On 21 May 2009, Google Street's privacy issues got some attention in the tabloid press, after it was revealed that Google's facial recognition technology automatically blurred out the face of "The Colonel" on the shop signage of Kentucky Fried Chicken stores "to protect his privacy", despite the fact that Harland David "Colonel" Sanders, upon whose image "The Colonel" is based, died in 1980. A spokesperson for Google defended the decision as "it shows how good our facial recognition technology is"[99].

Germany

In an April 2009 interview for the magazine Focus Google's Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer remarked that "public opposition to Google Street View in Germany, though not hysterical, had been tougher than in any other country."[100] On the same occasion he stated that the project has now been "essentially aligned with the concerns of data privacy advocates," and that "specific privacy tools would be developed for the German launch while imaging continues at the fastest possible pace." The option to have specific images removed would also apply for locations in Germany.

Greece

Google has been stopped from gathering images in Greek cities for its Street View service until it provides further guarantees about privacy.[101]

Australia

In 2007, Google pledged not to identify faces or number plates in Australia.[102] However, as of March 2009, it is still possible to view both.[103][104]

Japan

In Japan, Google Street View started in August 2008 and was made available for ten Japanese Prefectures in February 2009. The available Street View areas depicted residential and business areas, and showed the faces of pedestrians, displayed vehicle registration plates, and the name plate of a family residence (表札 Hyŝsatsu?) - Google's decision to show these has led to disputes. Local governments, lawyers and individuals claimed Google was violating privacy.[105] On 3 February 2009, Google Japan representatives attended a meeting about privacy concerns held at a Tokyo Metropolitan Government facility, and agreed that privacy issues had not been adequately considered. Google pledged that, before taking photographs for Street View, they would in future notify the provinces' local government. Google Japan admitted that notifications and explanations of this kind had already been taking place in countries other than Japan, but had not done so in Japan as they were not aware of the potential privacy concerns.[106]

On 13 May 2009, Google Japan announced that it would modify their cameras to scan from a reduced height of 2.05 meters above ground level, 40 centimeters lower than the original height of the camera head. This reduced height is to apply immediately, and all areas previously visited will be rescanned from the reduced height. Scans taken at the original height will remain available until they are replaced with the new images. (It has pointed out that this seems inconsistent.)

Role in solving crime

Google Street view, while angering many privacy advocates, has been known to help victims of crime. For example, a Dutch boy happened to find a photo on Street View showing him with two men right before they allegedly mugged him. Authorities were able to use these photos and arrest the assailants.[107]

See also

Notes

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  2. Google Street View no Brasil com Fiat Stilo
  3. googlemaps bike on Flickr
  4. A couple of thoughts on Street View « Rotacoo
  5. Google acknowledged using Elphel cameras
  6. Google's LatLong Blog
  7. CNet article "Google begins blurring faces in Street View"
  8. PC World article "Google Street View Gets Smart Navigation"
  9. http://www.hawaiiweblog.com/2009/04/17/google-street-view-hawaii
  10. http://maps.google.de/intl/de/help/maps/streetview/faq.html#q9 Google Maps Street View Germany
  11. Japan and Google Street View, special coverage page at Global Voices Online.
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  62. Google Street View : direction la Suède
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  66. Google Brasil fecha acordo para trazer Street View a cidades brasileiras
  67. Street View desembarca en América Latina
  68. Google lança Street View no Brasil
  69. Avistamiento de uno de los autos con cámara de Google Stree View en la Ciudad de México
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