Google Halts Street View Shooting in Germany For Indefinitely


Google has stopped shooting new photos in Germany for Street View. Whatever is online or has been captured so far is all that the Germans are going to get for the foreseeable future.

Google hasn't explained exactly why it took the decision, but it says that, for now, it wants to improve its regular mapping services and Street View is taking a back seat in the country.

"Our business priority is to use our Google cars to collect data such as street names and road signs to improve our basic maps for our users in a similar way that other mapping companies do," a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land.

Google Street View launched in Germany in early November last year and it expanded to 20 cities by the end of that month. But it won't be adding any others any time soon.

Google has had quite a convoluted history with Street View in the privacy-conscious country. Ever since plans to roll out the service in Germany were made public, privacy regulators have not been too happy with some of the things Google was doing.

Initially, the issues were over how long the unprocessed photos, which contained un-blurred faces and car number plates, could be stored on the Google servers.

Later, Germany asked Google for a full review of the hardware and software on-board the Street View cars which led to the whole WiFi payload data snafu as the company discovered that its cars captured more than just the IDs of wireless networks they encountered.

When it finally came to launching in Germany, Google offered people a chance to have their house blurred ahead of the launch, a first for the service.

Recently, Street View was declared legal by a court in Germany which argued that shooting from the streets, even if the cameras 'peeked' inside people's gardens or homes, was not a property rights or privacy violation.

Despite this, Google has now decided to halt all future shooting sessions. Normally, Street View imagery is constantly updated and expanded. It's unclear if the decision is permanent.


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