Friday, March 27, 2009

Google Street View To Capture Canada's Streets

Looking up Google's Headquarters in Mountain View, Santa Clara, California will
bring up Street Views of Google employees waving, doing handstands and generally
hamming it up for the camera on both Amphitheatre Parkway and Charleston Road.

According to the Globe and Mail and the CBC, Google will soon be bringing its cameras to Canada's public roads to document our cities with its popular Street View application. Street View is available through Google's map applications and provides a "pedestrian's-eye view" of major cities by projecting images captured at street level onto the corresponding road in the virtual map.

Over the coming weeks, employees of Google will be photographing 11 of Canada's largest cities: Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Quebec City, Saint John, Saskatoon, Toronto and Vancouver. The service is already available in cities of the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Australia, Japan, France, Italy and a host of other countries around the world. In announcing the Canadian version, the company said, "Using Street View, users can preview holiday accommodation, find meeting spots, explore neighbourhoods and properties, and look up driving directions."

Google has enacted a number of privacy measures for the service and consulted with federal and provincial privacy commissioners in advance of the campaign to photograph Canadian streets. Licence plates and people's faces are automatically blurred out and users can put in requests to remove offensive images. However these types of images have also become part of a recently popular game involving a search for strange happenings captured on Street View. There are even web sites dedicated to finding such sightings, such as people walking in or out of adult stores and clubs, accidentally documented crimes in progress or street fights, and people generally being caught in a range of embarrassing situations.

The Diane von Furstenberg boutique in New York City's Meatpacking District.

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