Google may be praised for some of the services it provides and it may be denounced for others. This is the case with its “Google Street View” service, an option derived from Google Maps and Google Earth.
The Street View allows you to obtain 360 degrees images of locations in several important cities in the USA, France, Italy, Australia, Canada and Japan. Google hires motorists equipped with a special camera in the intent of taking pictures at regular intervals. These images are then placed in a database and, theoretically, within the next few years Google could offer to “see” any place on earth.
But complaints are becoming more numerous. Residents of California complained that photographers have rolled on private roads to take pictures of residences. Some have failed to comply with the signs and have brought pictures of residences located more than 350 meters from the last public road. An audit by the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat newspaper shows that photos were taken on over a hundred private roads.
The company underlines the fact that we are in an era of satellites and aerial imagery, real intimacy no longer really exists. In early summer, Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, who is now hired by Google to spread the good word (what some call a Google Evangelist), told a newspaper: “Intimacy, forget about that … that’s finished!” Then he gave some explanation on his blog. “I tried to explain simply that we are entering a period where fewer and fewer things are really private. Think of how easy it is to take pictures and videos, scan and make them available to the entire planet through the Internet, Youtube or equivalent services. “
Although the company reiterated that it respects the privacy, confidentiality and intimacy of people, complaints about this keep growing.
A few months ago, Google announced it had developed a technology to hide the faces of people on the street along with the numbers on licenses plates. That’s certainly a step in the right direction, at least to show that they really do care a little bit about privacy.