Google Street View camera car snapped in London's Golden Square and posted online by altogetherdigital.com
The BBC's 6 o'clock news (and elsewhere) reports on the concern privacy campaigers have about Google's latest mapping tool 'Street View'. Google's camera car has been spotted on the streets of London. It has a large camera stalk mounted on the roof, so its pretty conspicuous. One respondent on the BBC's blog says the vehicle was even pulled over by uniformed police outside Westminster's Parliament building!
How Google Street View worksPrivacy campaigners complain that people caught by Google's cameras will be shown for all to see in places they don't want to be seen, or doing things they shouldn't be doing. Google says it blurs faces and car registration plates and it's incorporated a facility for users to report inappropriate views which can be accessed on its site.
I'm planning and researching a forthcoming trip to Northern California at the moment and I've found Google's mapping tools invaluable. I like that I can see all the hotels (and reviews from Tripadvisor) displayed on the graphic map and then click into the satellite view, or even the street level view to see what the area really looks like. So much more reliable than the guide books - and I've discovered a couple of hotels I had on my short list which are right next to the Freeway down ramp! (not something many hotels make a virtue of on their own website photos!).
I'm a strong supporter of personal privacy - but I don't see how Google Street View hurts us. I'd go further and say it helps us. The BBC news report asks how you would feel if your house is shown online? Passers-by see my home everyday. The aerial photo image of my street has been accessible via Google Earth for several years without incident.