Google’s Street View Goes Under The Sea At Six Coral Reefs

street-view-ocean Under the sea Under the sea Darling it's better down where it's wetter Take it from me - from The Little Mermaid Every so often, the Google Street View service does something cool enough to make you forget about the WiFi data collection screwup, and this is one of those things -- at least for me. With photographic help from The Catlin Seaview Survey, Street View now has underwater imagery from six coral reefs, all of which are available on Google Maps at maps.google.com/ocean. (Take that, Apple Maps.) The locations include the Great Barrier Reef near Australia (shown in the i [...]


Google Updates New Orleans Street View Imagery

streetview-nola-new The history of Google's Street View is rife with cities and towns that are less than thrilled at the sight of those little cars driving down the street (remember when a Street View driver ran into an angry mob of UK villagers?), but the reaction today is quite different in New Orleans. Seven years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city, Google has finally replaced the old images of destruction with new images taken over the past year or so. To show the difference, compare this old photo of a New Orleans street taken by Google in August 2007 (top) with one of the new images that's now [...]


New Orleans Residents: Dear Google, It’s Time To Update Our Street View Images

new-orleans-street-featured A pair of New Orleanians are trying to get Google to update the Street View imagery of their city -- some of which is five years old and still shows the ruins from 2005's Hurricane Katrina. "We basically just want to let Google know that there's a real need for updated images this many years after Katrina," says Annalisa Kelly, who, along with Hunter King, recently launched Update Google Street View in New Orleans! It's a blog that juxtaposes current city photos with Google's images to shine a light on the need for new Street View photos. As King and Kelly say on the blog, New Orleans is [...]


Google Street View Shows ‘Secret Base’ In Israel, But Military Says It’s Not Secret At All

streetview-israel Some in Israel are calling foul after images of what's described as a "secret base" in the Tel Aviv area have appeared on Google's Street View service. But the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) -- the country's defense department -- says everything is fine. According to an English-language article from Ynetnews, soldiers and vehicles inside a "secret base" are clearly visible on Street View, which just launched in Israel a couple weeks ago. Journalist and new media consultant Yossi Dorfman revealed in his blog that a secret Tel Aviv-area base has been fully exposed by Google's new service. The [...]


Google Street View Images Now Online In Israel

wailing-wall-street-view Although a formal launch is planned for this weekend, Google's Street View imagery for Israel is already online. It marks the first time Google has put street photographs online from any Middle Eastern country. Shown above is a screenshot of the Wailing Wall (also called the Western Wall) in Jerusalem, one of the city's most sacred sites. Plans to bring Street View to Israel have been the subject of great discussion -- and some controversy -- for more than a year. In early 2011, Israeli government officials met with Google and concluded that allowing Street View images online would be go [...]


Google’s Gags Go Worldwide For April Fool’s Day 2012

google-racing It was right about this time last year when we gave Google the winner's trophy for a series of gags that put all others to shame. We could do the same again right now, because Google has tried to top itself with another round of April Fool's Day jokes that pretty well span the globe of Google's international properties. Below is a recap of Google's (and a few others) pranks, and we'll do our best to update this as the day goes along. Google Racing: Self-Driving Cars Hit NASCAR The main joke at the moment is Google's "announcement" of a partnership with NASCAR called Google Racing, which b [...]


Nathon Fillion Demonstrates His “Google Maps Pose”

Last week on Jimmy Kimmel Live, actor Nathon Fillion demonstrated his Google Maps Pose. He described how he was outside of his new home and noticed that the Google Maps Street View car was approaching. He had to act fast and think up his "Google Maps Pose." He then demonstrated the pose to the audience. Fillion jokes, "I think this is important, it is something everybody should think about." "If a Google Maps car is coming down the street, what am I going to do?" he said. Jimmy Kimmel never saw a Google Maps car before and asked what they look like. Nathon Fillion described it as a ca [...]


Czech Republic Gives Google Green Light To Resume Street View

czech-street-view After more than two years, and a few important concessions from Google, the Czech Republic is letting the company resume its Street View service. As Czech Position reports, Google has agreed to several conditions put forth by the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection: Google will take photos closer to ground level to avoid photographing personal property over fences/walls. Google will give Czech citizens a method to demand that their property be removed from Street View. Google will blur license plates/registration information on vehicles. Google will pre-announce when it's plan [...]


Google Announces “_nomap” WiFi Opt-out Option, Wants Other Location Providers To Go Along

wifi-router-x As promised, Google has announced a way for WiFi router owners to stop Google from including them in the company's location database. The opt-out requires a change in the name of the wireless network (the SSID) to include _nomap at the end of the name. In other words, if your wireless network is named "McGeehome," you'd need to rename that to "McGeehome_nomap." (And frankly, I'd prefer you use your own last name while you're at it.) Google says this method "provides the right balance of simplicity as well as protection against abuse. Specifically, this approach helps protect against ot [...]


Ex-Burglars Believe Google StreetView, Facebook, Twitter & Foursquare Used To Plot Crimes

Screen shot 2011-09-28 at 6.20.52 AM There have been many stories in the past of criminals (of one sort or another) using Google, Foursquare and Facebook to target people who many not be home or, in the case of Google Earth and Street View, which homes to target. A recent survey of 50 convicted burglars by UK security firm Friedland Response and reported by the UK's Sky News argues that Google and social media tools are being used extensively to target people. Nearly 80 percent of the 50 ex-burglars surveyed strongly believed that Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare were being used by current criminals, and nearly 75 percent s [...]


Google Will Offer Wi-Fi Opt-Out Tool To Improve User Privacy & Appease European Regulators

With the smoke still smoldering from Google's long-running battle over the collection of personal information via unsecured WiFi networks, the company says it's working on a service that will allow WiFi router owners to opt-out from being included in Google's location services. In a blog post yesterday, Google says the opt-out will be available to people around the world. Even though the wireless access point signals we use in our location services don't identify people, we think we can go further in protecting people's privacy. At the request of several European data protection authorit [...]


Google Travel Search Takes Flight With First ITA Travel Product

google-ita-featured Google has made what amounts to a promising downpayment on more ambitious travel search tools with its new Flight Search, debuting today. Launching initially for a select group of US cities Google users will have access to an expanded range of airline search options and a much more verticalized experience than has been available in the past on Google. This is the first product to emerge from Google's controversial acquisition of travel software company ITA, which closed in April and included concessions and guarantees to existing ITA customers such as Kayak, Microsoft, Orbitz, Hotwire and [...]


Google’s Street View Gets OK To Launch In Israel

streetview-israel Google's Street View service is headed to the Middle East. As expected, the Israeli government has given Google a green light to begin driving through the country and placing panoramic images online. The Ministry of Justice's decision comes after months of discussion with Google about how to allow Street View in the country while still protecting concerns related to individual privacy and the bigger issue of violence/terrorism. The government offered an online poll about Street View, and 70% of respondents voted in favor of allowing Street View to launch in Israel. As Globes.co.il repor [...]


Belgium Says Google Broke Privacy Law, Offers Cash Settlement

Google is considering a settlement offer from federal prosecutors in Belgium who say the company broke national privacy laws when it collected personal data from unsecured WiFi networks via its Street View vehicles. According to Bloomberg, prosecutors have offered Google a €150,000 penalty (currently about $215,000 USD) for the gaffe that Google has repeatedly said was accidental. Google has three months to accept the penalty; if it doesn't, prosecutors may take the case to court, where Google could face higher fines and perhaps even time in prison. A Google spokesperson confirmed the [...]


Report: Google Street View Collected Device Locations, Not Just WiFi Access Points

street-view-car-small Google is likely to face more privacy-related challenges on the heels of news today that the company's Street View vehicles have collected more than just the location of WiFi access points. According to a CNET article today, Google collected those WiFi access points along with the location of client devices including mobile phones and desktop computers. The cars were supposed to collect the locations of Wi-Fi access points. But Google also recorded the street addresses and unique identifiers of computers and other devices using those wireless networks and then made the data publicly avai [...]


Google Gets Chance To Appeal In Street View Lawsuit

Just a couple weeks after the latest setback, Google picked up a small but potentially important victory today in its defense against charges that the company violated federal wiretap laws when its Street View cars intercepted personal data over unencrypted WiFi networks. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Judge James Ware has put the case on hold and given Google the go-ahead to appeal his ruling last month that kept open a group of consolidated lawsuits that accuse Google of violating the Federal Wiretap Act. In that decision, Ware dismissed a pair of claims against Google, but refus [...]


Judge Rejects Google’s Motion To Toss Out Street View Lawsuit

street-view-car-featured Google is currently considering its options after a federal judge gave the go-ahead for a group of consolidated lawsuits to proceed against the company over a potential violation of the Federal Wiretap Act. Wednesday's decision by US District Judge James Ware, first reported by Wired, actually dismissed two of the three claims against Google, but left open the group's ability to sue Google for potentially violating the Wiretap Act: … the Court finds that Plaintiffs plead facts sufficient to state a claim for violation of the Wiretap Act. In particular, Plaintiffs plead that Defendant [...]


Google Street View Runs Into Indian Roadblock

Google has bumped into problems with Street View in yet another country. This time it's India. According to website MediaNama, three weeks after it began driving the local police commissioner in Bangalore notified Google that it must stop photographing the city until a number of issues can be resolved. Google told the publication it had obtained police permission before commencing Street View photography. The legal questions raised by the Bangalore police revolve around the legality of "foreigners or foreign firms" doing extensive photography on the scale of Street View in India. A r [...]


Friday Fun: A Street View Car Made Of LEGOs … And It Works!

From the you-knew-it-would-happen-at-some-point department: a "street view" photography car made out of LEGOs that actually works! The car/toy (frankly, I'm not sure what to call it) is the work of Mark Crosbie, a software architect based in Dublin, Ireland and self-described "big LEGO kid by night." It uses Lego's NXT (a programmable robotics system), a dGPS sensor to capture the car's coordinates, and four small cameras mounted on top. Crosbie showcased the car at the Google Zeitgeist event in London last month, and posted this video of the car in action, along with some of the actual [...]


Google Tiptoes Into India With Street View

Google launched Street View on Thursday in India, the second most-populous country on earth. But "launch" may be a bit of an overstatement because, in a country that's also the seventh biggest in square mileage, Google is only taking photographs in one city: Bangalore. Google announced that it's using both cars and trikes to photographs the streets of Bangalore. The city is a smart first choice: It's a tech hub that's often referred to as India's version of Silicon Valley. Presumably, many in Bangalore will be familiar with and welcoming toward Street View photography. When the Street Vi [...]


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