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In Germany, Google Will Erase Street View Data on Request

18 06 2009 – You might be wondering what’s new here; after all, Googlehas been blurring Street View imagery containing potentially sensitive data like faces and license plates, on request, for quite a while now.

However, in Germany, there will be a crucial difference, because over there Google has agreed to completely erase such data internally. AP writes:

Google had agreed to erase the raw footage of faces, house numbers, license plates and individuals in Germany who have told authorities they do not want their information used in the service.

This is important from the aspect of privacy. If the image is only blurred, and Google still keeps the unblurred imagery internally, it’s possible for Google to give the imagery to the court if ordered.

There are certain technical implications, too; as Google Blogoscoped has noticed, erasing the data would make it harder for Google to reuse this imagery later for the purpose of statistical analysis, for example.

This is a small victory for groups and individuals who are concerned over Street View invading their privacy, since courts in most other countries have been satisfied with Google’s policy of merely blurring the imagery upon request.

Source: mashable.com


06 06 2009 – Google’s street-level mapping imagery – called Street View – can at times be useful if you want to see what a place you’re trying to find looks like.

However, if you’ve ever wanted to explore beyond a snapshot of a location, you’ve likely found the user experience fairly cumbersome, if not downright unusable at times.

The Google Maps team has unveiled a new feature that makes actually navigating through Street View significantly better. Now, Maps will show you, “an oval when your mouse is following a road and a rectangle when moving across the facades of buildings.” Google refers to these shapes as “pancakes,” and once you figure out how exactly they work, they turn Street View into a fairly enjoyable – if not highly useful – experience.

The feature seems to be most useful when looking down a street, as opposed to staring directly at the address you’re looking for, which will just zoom you in further when you double-click on the pancake. This means you can potentially move hundreds of yards at a time in Street View, as opposed to however far Google would let you move previously by clicking forwards and backwards arrows.

The prior problem, and the solution, are explained by Google in the video below:

Source: mashable.com