Google Street View

Google Street View is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that provides 360° panoramic street-level views and allows users to view parts of selected cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas at ground level. When it was launched on May 25, 2007, only five American cities were included. It has since expanded to thousands of locations in the United States, France, Italy, Australia and Japan.

Google Street View displays photos taken from cameras mounted on a fleet of cars and placed in 'image orbs' within google's maps, displayed against the backdrop of images previously taken from satellite that make up google's maps. These "image orbs" can be navigated using either the arrow keys on the keyboard or by using a mouse to click on arrows displayed on the screen. Using these devices, the photos can be viewed in different sizes, from any direction, and from a variety of angles. Lines that are displayed along the street that is shown indicate the direction followed by that street view camera car.


Google Street View was first introduced in the United States on May 25, 2007, and currently features 58 camera icon markers on the U.S. map, each representing at least one major U.S. city or area (such as a park), and usually the other nearby cities, towns, suburbs, and parks. Additionally, many major U.S. cities now have street view coverage without an icon. In all, with the extensions now reaching quite far beyond these major cities, views can now be seen in parts of all but six U.S. states (Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia).

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.

* 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 April 16, 2008, Street View was fully integrated into Google Earth 4.3.

By location

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. As of today, images can be seen in five countries. Introductions have generally occurred every 1-3 months, with a group of cities marked by camera icons being added each time. In some of the later introductions, other cities without such a marking have been added too.

United States

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 more limited number of views, usually contained to the city limits, and only including major streets, and they only showed the buildings up to a certain height. Few, if any 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 views of cities added on one date have also been improved frequently on a later date, sometimes a date in which no additional cities were added. These have included the additions of streets in neighborhoods where previously, only main roads have 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.


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 August 4, 2008, the long-anticipated image collection of Australia was introduced. At this time, the bulk of the populated areas of Australia were included in detail, with 18 camera icons.


Japan was also introduced on August 4, 2008. Japan's coverage is currently concentrated in five areas with a total of 10 camera icons.

Areas included


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. [ [ Twelve New Cities To See In Street View | WebProNews ] ]

In the more immediate future, Google plans to release Street View for various Canadian cities, but modified so that faces and license plates are blurred, due to concerns raised by Canada's federal privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart about the program breaching Canada's privacy laws. [cite news |url= |title=Google’s Street View blurred by Canadian privacy concerns|author=Weeks, Carly|publisher=CanWest News Service |date=September 24, 2007]

Google has demonstrated Street View on prototype phones running Google's Android OS.Fact|date=August 2008

In April 2008, Google Street View cars were spotted in Italy with SICK laser scanners added to the scanning array on the car. These would be used for gathering 3D data as well as images. [ [ Google Street View - Soon in 3D? at Educating Silicon ] ]

On July 7, 2008 it was confirmed that images had been taken in the UK for Google Street View. [ [ BBC NEWS | | A blog about technology from BBC News | Google's Street View response ] ] [ [ Google Street View cars have arrived in Britain - Times Online ] ] [ [ The Google Street View car - spotted! | PDA: The Digital Content Blog | ] ] [ [ Google Streetview - a set on Flickr ] ]

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, males picking up prostitutes and other activities, as well as people engaging in activities visible from public property in which they do not wish to be seen publicly. [cite news |url= |title=Google’s Street View site raises alarm over privacy |author=MacDonald, Calum |publisher=The Herald |date=June 4, 2007] Google maintains that the photos were taken from public property. Before launching the service, Google removed photos of domestic violence shelters, and allows users to flag inappropriate or sensitive imagery for Google to review and remove. [cite news |url= |title=Google's street-level maps raising privacy concerns |author=Mills, Elinor |publisher=USA Today |date=June 3, 2007] When the service was first launched, the process for requesting that an image be removed was not trivial; [cite news |url= |title=Google Waffles on Street View Takedown Policy |publisher=Dr. Dobb's Portal |date=June 15, 2007] however, Google has since changed its policy to make removal more straightforward. [cite news |url= |title=Google Lets You Remove People from Street View |publisher=Google Operating System |date=August 26, 2007] Images of potential break-ins, sunbathers and individuals entering adult bookstores have, for example, remained active and these images have been widely republished. [cite news |url= |title=Google Street View: Accidental Online Community or Real Invasion of Privacy? |publisher=Web Urbanist |date=June 8, 2007]

In Europe, the creation of Google Street View may not be legal in all places. While the laws vary from country to country, many countries in Europe have laws prohibiting the unconsented filming of an individual on public property for the purpose of public display. [ [ Google's Street View could be unlawful in Europe | OUT-LAW.COM ] ]

One of Google's remedies to the concerns over privacy laws outside the United States has been a pledge to blur faces of people who are filmed. Google began blurring faces on 13 May 2008 [ [ Google begins blurring faces in Street View] ] and the images published since then, including the first launch of images in Europe on 2 June 2008, have all used face blurring.

In 2007, Google pledged not to identify faces or number plates in Australia. [cite web|url=,25642,24130293-5014108,00.html|title=Google unveils Street View across Australia||date=2008-08-05|accessdate=2008-08-06] However, as of August 2008, it is still possible to view both. [cite news |url= |title=Google Street View told: keep off, private |publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald |date=2008-08-07 |accessdate= 2008-08-08] [cite news |url= |title=Google takes a risky road with privacy |publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald |date=2008-08-06 |accessdate= 2008-08-07]

Google has delayed the release of its street views of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area out of concern from the United States Department of Homeland Security that some of the images taken may be of security-sensitive areas. []

The Pentagon has banned Google from publishing Street View content of U.S. military bases and asked Google to remove existing content of bases (to which Google has complied). [cite web |url=|title= Pentagon bans Google teams from bases|accessdate=2008-03-07 |publisher= Reuters|work= |date= 2008-03-06]

Some parents have expressed concern over Street View compromising the security of their children. [ [ MyFox Milwaukee | Google Street View Upsets Some Parents ] ]

Aaron and Christine Boring, a Pittsburgh couple sued Google for "invasion of privacy". They claimed that Street View made a photo of their home available online, and it diminished the value of their house, which was purchased for its privacy. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Couple Sues Google Over "Street View". |url= |quote= |publisher=The Smoking Gun |date= |accessdate=2008-04-04 ] However, a photograph of the home of the Boring couple was already available on the county tax assessor's website prior to their lawsuit. [cite news |url= |title=I Spy a Luddite: Why the Lawsuit over Google Street View is Absurd |author=Castro, Daniel |publisher=The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation |date=April 25, 2008]

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. [cite news |url= |title=North Oaks tells Google Maps: Keep out - we mean it |author=Pabst, Lora |publisher=Minneapolis Star-Tribune |date=May 31, 2008]

ee also

*Google Maps
*Google Earth
*Immersive Media
*Location View
*Live Maps


External links

* [ Streetview Belgium and France]
* [ Google Street View Help]
* [ Google Maps]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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