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Posted at 9:51 AM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Google Street View Trikes add more pictures

By Cecilia Kang


Google is putting its controversial Street View application into greater focus with the addition of photos of places around the world taken from its fleet of global tricycles.

The search giant wrote about the new Trike pictures on its blog Monday evening, even as it faces scrutiny from governments around the world over privacy concerns.

"We’re able to collect imagery of most of these places with a car, but when we find an interesting place that a car can't reach, we get more creative," wrote Jeremy Pack, a software engineer for Google.

Want to get into gates of the Château de Chenonceaux in France? The snapshots from Google's Trikes allow you to get in there and even see the gardens -- and the two tourists walking in front and two guys working on scaffolding on top of the building.

Want to see the San Diego Museum of Art? You can see the beautiful Mediterranean-style building from all angles. You can see blooming lilacs and a small huddle of cars in the parking lot. The license plates are blurred, as are the faces of people caught in photos taking by Street View cars and trikes roaming the globe.

Around the globe, governments are weighing if the application goes too far with its crystal clear view.

Switzerland's data protection authorities have pushed a court to require Google to manually blur people's faces caught on Street View photos, according to PC World. Currently, Google uses an automated technology to blur personally identifiable objects.

Other governments continue to scrutinize the application even as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission dropped its own probe of Street View and whether the application encroached on consumer privacy. The FCC has its own investigation into the company's collection of Internet user data from Wi-Fi networks.

Related stories:
Satisfied with privacy changes, FTC drops Google Street View probe

Google CEO said he "misspoke" about Street View privacy concerns

By Cecilia Kang  | March 1, 2011; 9:51 AM ET
Categories:  FTC, Google  
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