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Takes camera up Everest way...

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Google has taken its Street View service to new heights after deciding to ditch the infamous car in favour of a simple tripod and camera as it unveiled new shots of some of the world’s tallest mountains.

The Chocolate Factory’s obsessive bid to map every corner of the planet has now taken it up Mount Everest – or at least base camp for climbers – as well as Argentina’s Mt. Aconcagua, Tanzania's Kilimanjaro and Russia’s Mt. Elbrus.

“This imagery was collected with a simple lightweight tripod and digital camera with a fisheye lens—equipment typically used for our Business Photos program,” said “Google adventurer” Dan Fredinburg in a blog post.

Fredinburg’s more prosaic day job is a technical program manager on Google’s privacy and security team, according to Time.

He told the mag that the expedition to four of the world’s “Seven Summits” was no easy feat, punctuated by downpours, mudslides and even a 6.9 magnitude earthquake near Everest.

The pics also represent another chance for Google to show its not all bad, after its Street View cars landed it in some pretty sticky privacy issues.

The text ads giant is apparently close to a $7 million settlement with 30 US states over an infamous incident when its cars not only took snaps but also pilfered Wi-Fi passwords and other data from homes.

As part of the good PR efforts, news emerged a fortnight ago that the Chocolate Factory was sending a Street View car into the town of Namie in the Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone to map the town for its displaced citizens. ®

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