Google Street View planned for Europe
May 20, 2008
Google plans to launch its controversial Street View service in Europe but not until it is confident that the service satisfies local privacy laws.
A Google UK spokeswoman told Amateur Photographer magazine today: ?We hope to bring Street View to Europe at some point but we have no dates to announce at this time.?
Street View allows internet users to view 360° street-level images of selected locations – enabling them to take a virtual tour of the area to help find local shops, hotels and restaurants, for example.
Google captures the pictures using specially equipped vehicles.
Since its US launch Google has received complaints that Street View infringes the privacy of individuals shown in the images.
This prompted the search engine giant to try face-blurring technology, in a bid to protect the privacy of anyone featured.
In a statement Google added: ?We will not launch in Europe until we are comfortable Street View complies with local law, including law relating to the display of images of individuals.
?We will use technology, like face-blurring and operational controls, such as image removal tools, so Street View remains useful and in keeping with local norms wherever it is available.?
Among those reported to have expressed concerns over privacy is the European Union?s data protection supervisor Peter Hustinx, who told journalists last week: ?Making pictures on the street is, in many cases, not a problem, but making pictures everywhere is certainly going to create some problems.?
Google tested a ?prototype? of its face-blurring technology in Manhattan and plans to introduce ?similar technologies? elsewhere.
?This means people won?t be personally identifiable,? claims Google, adding that it can also remove problematic images.
No-one at the European Union was available for immediate comment.
Google did not have figures available for the number of complaints it has received.