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Germans Demand Google Street View While Demanding They Not Be on It

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As Google Street View users know, the service provides a panorama 360-degree image of a given location. For example, a user can click on an image of the Empire State Building and then follow the image around in a full circle to view the surrounding buildings and businesses. But Street View also covers residential areas, assuring many people that the trash they left out front and the dirty laundry hanging in the backyard could be exposed to everyone on the Internet (potentially both literally and figuratively).

Google may be getting away with it in the US, but Germany isn’t having any of it. Spiegel reports that “more than 100,000 people have already registered with Google to have their homes blurred out of the Google Street View service, which is slated for launch by the end of the year.” (Renters and building owners in 20 of the largest German cities have until mid-October to register appeals that their buildings be pixelated and made unrecognizable.)

The challenge for Google? Managing all the requests. Apparently, obscuring homes is more difficult than one would think because the images are made by digitally stitching several different pictures together. But the company had better figure it out, and fast: Even though a document from Google stated that of all the countries where the service has yet to be launched, Germany is the biggest user, Google may face a potential law aimed at regulating online geographical services the country is preparing to draft.
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