Google defends Street View coverage

Google defends Street View coverage

Summary: Search giant Google today defended the incomplete Australian coverage provided by its Street View add-on to its Google Maps and Earth tools, after launching the service early this morning.

TOPICS: Google, Privacy, Security

Search giant Google today defended the incomplete Australian coverage provided by its Street View add-on to its Google Maps and Earth tools, after launching the service early Tuesday morning.

Street View allows users of Google Maps and Earth to view street-side photos of the geographic locations they are viewing with the tools. The service has previously been available in the US and several other countries, but Australia only received the additional functionality today.

But a quick survey of the tools this morning revealed substantial gaps in its coverage of locations even in metropolitan Australia. Google's road survey of the nation — carried out from November by a team of contractors in small vehicles — appeared to focus on major roads first, with side streets receiving less attention.

Patchy coverage ... Wagga Wagga example
(Credit: Google Maps)

Local Google Maps product manager Andrew Foster acknowledged the service wasn't yet complete, saying that Google was not targeting particular areas or streets and that some of the photos that Google had taken were simply still being processed.

"The goal is to cover all streets," he said. "In certain areas of Australia, we're still processing some of the imagery, and still driving some of the areas."

"If you look at the imagery we have processed at the time we've launched, it's extremely broad, covering all the way to a lot of outback areas, such as the Nullarbor and Alice Springs."

Internationally, Street View has caused controversy amongst groups concerned it could cause privacy issues. In Australia, Google has consulted with privacy experts. The company has provided an option on the site to request images be taken down.

However, Foster said the search giant was currently fielding enquiries from people who wanted more coverage, not less.

"That's the sort of feedback we've had on day one, people wanting more imagery in Australia on Google Street View, rather than wanting to remove images," he said.

Foster said the search giant had already seen strong interest in the site from the real estate and tourism industries. In addition, Google anticipated strong demand from educational institutions and the small business sector.

Google planned to update the photos used by Street View "continually", Foster said, as it did with all other geographical data in Google Maps. He said there wasn't a specific timetable for taking new photos for the service.

Topics: Google, Privacy, Security

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  • Love it

    Pitty it was taken on collection day, you can see my bins out!!!
  • Privacy

    There is nothing illegal about taking photographs in public places, and that's pretty much all Google have done.

    I know Google don't have a particularly good privacy track-record, but in this particular case, I don't see any problem.

    In fact, I remember I saw one of their cars driving around one day, so I was actually looking through the maps yesterday to see if they'd snapped a shot of me (I couldn't find any, though). It's fun!
  • Patchy?,147.345886&spn=0.105012,0.219727&z=13&layer=c&cbll=-35.109584,147.354141

    This is a zoomed-out link to Wagga Wagga with Street View turned on. The picture in this article has basically zoomed in on the *one* section in all of Wagga Wagga that has missing streets.

    I'd hardly say the coverage is "patchy" -- "patchy" imples that most areas are not covered, and only "patches" are, but it's exactly the opposite! There is one tiny section of Wagga Wagga not covered, and I can hardly imagine that Google would be unaware of the tiniest gaps in their data.
  • No Darwin!

    Darwin streets aren't available yet - though a colleague saw their Van trawling the streets a number of months ago - so I'm guessing those photos are still being processed.
  • Social Darwanism

    This is great. Now when interviewing for a position I can see what type of place applicants live, and decide if they are the "type of person" worthy of working for me. I won't have to hire anyone from older or smaller homes that are from a "lower" social ranking to what I am after.

    Thanks for this very helpful employment tool.
  • Yeah right!

    This is the exact reason why Google streets should be closed. People are People, where and how they live should have no bearing on how they work. If you rate people on this level, then you really don't deserve your job.

    This is a service that is going to be used to make the world a more harder palce to live, now we have to watch our backs as well.
  • People do this anyway

    If someone judges someone by the house they live in, they would no doubt also judge them by their surname, suburb etc at the moment anyway. Prejudiced people don't need rational reasons for being prejudiced.
  • Nothing new

    As if you can't do that already... all you need to know is the suburb someone lives in, and an actual photograph isn't going to tell you much more.

    After all, someone who lives in Double Bay is going to be better off than someone who lives in Bankstown. I certainly wouldn't need a photo of their house to know that.
  • google street veiw

    I find this a complete invasion of privacy. My house appears on this site, I am the owner, nobody asked me if I want it there.
    As the owner of this property, firstly I should have been asked if I wanted my house to be veiwed on line. Sure anyone can come along and photo it, but they are not capable of placing that image onto a website that has millions of visitors. I will be looking into ways to have my house removed from this site, and if popssible, trying to encourage others to stop google and steet view.
    I can not believe that people so easily let go of their civil rights. This is no better than being sniffed by a police dog on your way to work.
    Where will it end, will people have to see the inside of my home next, in my walldrobe. Just because they want it, doesn't mean they should get it.
    i would also like to know who gave them permission to do this in Australia. Have they not considered the security issues here. Isn't this a time of high security, but its ok to place indepth information about our neighbourhoods online.
    This is also a great resource for theives, now they can have a look for the really nice house to rob without stepping out the front door. I really cannot believe google have been able to do this without any consideration of the owners PRIVATE property
    If I want you to see my house, I will invite you.
  • Public Place

    Taking photographs in public places is not illegal in this country. Roads are public places.

    If you want to turn Australia into North Korea or China, then that's your business, but I wish to live in a country where people are free.
  • google street view.

    Sure anyone can come along and photo it, but they are not capable of placing that image onto a website that has millions of visitors. WRONG!!
    Haven't you heard of the many types of photo displaying sites,like Flickr or even video like youtube etc.
    Also none of the information that Google earth shows wasn't allready available any way.
  • Street View

    We don't need the whole world to see where we live. It's our privilege to enjoy our surroundings.
    It is offence for real estate’s to publish photos of your house without your permission, what makes Google above this law.

    Our house might be in public view, but Google have now made it a WORLD WIDE public view. Which in my books constitutes privacy issues and possible easy access to details of your property! Which could not be done from someone living in other states or countries without first visiting your home personally! People have a right to where they live, we don’t need someone like Google taking photos every few months or years and posting on the internet for everyone to view.

    I'm not really concerned, but Google should have at least given people easy opportunity to not be included or make the service a pay service for those that only require it for business or ethical reasons.

    I’ve seen kids playing, people doing things that look illegal, a person picking their nose, naked women, fancy cars in drive ways, etc... This sort of stuff is personal and doesn’t need to be published worldwide. Criminals could use this information to their advantage, like cars, I seen a property with 4 nice looking cars parked outside, easy target for grand theft, I know they have these cars from my computer, thanks to Google.

    Insurance companies have also concerns to house and car insurance; it does make it easy for criminals to find out where unsecure or easy accessed homes are and where vehicles can be found that could be easily stolen, among other stuff I won’t go into.

    Simply pull it off the internet Google and save yourself from future issues and lawsuits, not just by common people, but companies especially insurance companies. We don’t need it, it’s only going to be used for all the wrong reasons and some look down memory lanes. A big waste of time and money in my books.
  • So!

    Still doesn't give you the right to judge how someone works by where they live. If we are going to be hierarchy community on this level, then we are screwed and our future looks bleak.

    Hats off to Google showing the world exactly what we're like, pathetic (and yes, I include myself in that comment).
  • google street veiw

    The government gave them permission, just like the UK government is going to, but only if faces and numberplates are removed or blured.

    Australia got blured images all over, but it still makes it easy acess to people homes and surroundings that are not normally this easy to access.

    Bad thing is, some US state got no blured or removed faces, clear as day pics,, thank God I don't live there. Google Earth is more than enough.
  • take it again

    if you have a bad image of your area retake the image and it send in to google,
    Google Map has numerous "people " pictures uploaded.
    Most panorama programs will shoot a 360°

    Ours is good
  • Get rid of it!

    Just because it's legal does not make it right, this is going to lead onto more an more invasion inventions in the near future we are setting ourselves up for a watched over world, we don't even need this we were fine with mapping.

    Remember Google started out as a simple search engine an now it's gathering the information of the world...

    If you agree sign this petition.
    If you don't then forget me an go on living.
  • public places...

    No-one's saying it's illegal to take photographs in public places.

    It's creating a massive, easily-accessible database of such photographs that has ramifications.
  • street view

    if someone was that keen to know where you lived, they would know, google street view isn't even considered new technology, but it does scare me to see how many people are paranoid about this.
  • where

    What is the web address of this
  • Reverse phone look ups

    Reverse phone look ups + google street view = chaos