Google to launch disputed 'Street View' in Germany this year

Aug 10, 2010
Google headquarters

Internet giant Google will from next week allow Germans to opt-out of its disputed Street View navigation service ahead of its launch in the country this year, the company said Tuesday.

The move is part of an effort to placate German authorities, who have serious privacy concerns about the service that allows users to view online panoramic still photos at street level taken using specially equipped vehicles.

" will roll out for the 20 biggest German cities by the end of the year," the company said in a statement, meaning will join the list of 23 countries featured on Street View.

The service allows users to view panoramic street scenes on and "walk" through cities such as New York, Paris or Hong Kong.

Uniquely for Germany, however, Google will launch a campaign Wednesday informing citizens in the featured cities including Berlin, Munich and Hamburg who are concerned about safety or privacy how they can have pictures of their homes or businesses blurred out.

"Renters or owners can apply to have their building made unrecognisable before the pictures are published online," the company said.

Google already blocks out people's faces and car number plates in the other countries featured on Street View and will do so in Germany.

In April, Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner and Google reached an agreement after a lengthy dispute under which the company would only provide Street View images from Germany after it had addressed privacy concerns.

Aigner, a fierce defender of privacy rights online, has said she will delete her Facebook profile over data protection issues.

Germany is especially sensitive to privacy issues due to grievous abuses by the Nazis and East German communists in the past.

Explore further: Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google, Germany bury hatchet over 'Street View'

Apr 30, 2010

Germany said Friday that Google had agreed to address thorny privacy concerns before launching its Street View navigation service in the country, ending a row between the firm and Berlin.

Google launches 'Street View' charm offensive

Mar 02, 2010

US Internet giant Google launched on Tuesday a charm offensive for its "Street View" navigation service, aiming to soothe the privacy doubts of a sceptical German public.

Google to reshoot street views of Japanese cities

May 14, 2009

(AP) -- Google said Wednesday it will reshoot all photos in Japan for its Street View service after residents complained the 360-degree panoramic images provided a view over the fences around their homes.

Recommended for you

Britain's UKIP issues online rules after gaffes

2 hours ago

UK Independence Party (UKIP), the British anti-European Union party, has ordered a crackdown on the use of social media by supporters and members following a series of controversies.

Sony saga blends foreign intrigue, star wattage

2 hours ago

The hackers who hit Sony Pictures Entertainment days before Thanksgiving crippled the network, stole gigabytes of data and spilled into public view unreleased films and reams of private and sometimes embarrassing ...

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.