As we mentioned last week, Google is now allowing German residents to opt-out of having buildings shown in Google Street View Germany.
The removal request page begins by saying that it’s “a pity” that the user wants to make a building unrecognizable in Street View. Google goes on to explain that
- anyone can request removal, including building owners and residents
- much like they do with Google Places business listings, Google will send a verification code to the postal address of the building and a link (via email) to complete the removal request
- the deadline to submit a removal request is September 15, 2010
- Google will blur the appearance of buildings that ask to be excluded from Street View
This is an unheard-of move by Google, which has previously resisted accusations from privacy groups by saying that Street View doesn’t need to be edited/modified because it only shows what anyone can see while walking down the street.
Google Street View will be available in 20 of Germany’s largest cities by November.
Postscript: The Associated Press is reporting that German government officials will invite Google, Microsoft, and others to a September 20th meeting to discuss “the opportunities and limits” of mapping services like Street View and, presumably, Bing’s similar Streetside service. Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere went so far as to call out some of the people who are upset about Street View:
“There are people who on the one hand tweet about their entire private life … but on the other hand fight against their (home’s) facade being photographed,” de Maiziere was quoted as saying. “That is absurd. There need to be regulations on the matter — but we shouldn’t become hysterical.”