From today, internet users are now able to view 95% of roads in the UK, extending previous coverage by a further 210,000 miles. Having focussed primarily on major cities before, this growth in mapped areas is set to improve businesses, tourism and simply provide a service for general use to prevent users getting lost. However, concerns have been made about privacy and the risk that burglars may use it to target more vulnerable areas as almost every home in the UK can be viewed. With this in mind, Google does allow users to flag up areas if they believe it shows inappropriate or insensitive images and this enables people to request that their house or car become blurred in the image.
There are clear benefits of this service as it has been surveyed that around two thirds of people use Google Street View to find directions. And a Google spokesman said “people can check out a restaurant before arriving, make travel plans, arrange meeting points, get a helping hand with geography homework, or just get to know their town better”.
Despite this, there have been protests towards Google photographing certain areas before. Last year, in Broughton, Buckinghamshire local residents of the village blocked the Google camera car from entering their village by forming a chain of people across its roads.
The overall area mapped outreaches any technology of this type used before; Google even photographed several off-road areas such as Stonehenge by fitting the 360° camera to a tricycle which can allow users to gain a detailed view of a tourist site before even visiting.
The question many people are asking however is whether this advance in technology gives Google permission to photograph every home in the UK for worldwide internet access? Is this simply a useful service or an invasion of privacy?