With the recent addition of Great Britain, Google Maps' Street View service is now available in seven countries. The recent expansion includes 25 cities in the UK, including London, Glasgow, and Oxford, potentially opening the door to more complaints from those who would voice privacy concerns over the service.
"The images you see on Street View are the same images you would see if you were to walk or drive down the road yourself," said Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist for Google. "If people do not want their homes featured we will take them down, or cut them out of the image."
The problem, from the perspective of privacy advocates, is that not only is it an opt-out service, but as our very own Tom Edwards points out , once the picture is posted certain images are still viewable by scrolling back a block on the map and zooming in on deleted content.
Nevertheless, Google's Street View feature isn't all controversial. Back in January, it was learned that Boston police used Street View to help solve a kidnapping case by tracing the coordinates of an abducted 9-year-old girl's phone to a location in Virginia. The police used Street View to help identify possible hideouts for the kidnapper, leading local cops to nab the suspect.
Pros and cons aside, Google plans to expand its Street View service to more cities in Great Britain in the future.