In the face of resistance from several European countries and agencies, Google says it will launch Street View in Germany before the end of the year. The road-based photo-mapping tool will be available in 20 of Germany’s biggest cities by November, the AP reports.
One thing unique to this launch is that Google will let Germans begin opting-out of having their homes photographed next week — months ahead of Street View’s expected launch.
Germany has been one of Street View’s most vocal critics and today’s news wasn’t exactly welcomed:
But privacy watchdogs remain critical as the announcement comes on short notice, in the middle of summer holidays, with residents only able to ask for their house to be removed for a four-week window.
Johannes Caspar, head of the Hamburg office for data protection, also criticized Google for refusing to set up a hot line to answer questions. He said he has also urged Google be more transparent about how it plans to handle the data of those who object to the mapping program.
“Google is missing an opportunity to restore trust,” he said in a statement.
Google previously suspended its Street View photography in Germany after admitting that its vehicles had been collecting private data while taking photographs. In May of 2009, Germany threatened sanctions, and then later said that the two sides had reached a deal over things like blurring and storing Street View images.