Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/21/google_germany/
Google says hardly any Germans opt out of Street View
Says (nearly) all opt-outs accommodated
Google has said that just 2.89 per cent of German households have asked for their homes to be taken off Street View - but sadly it will not be able to oblige all of them when it launches in the country next month.
Street View has unaccountably gotten up the noses of privacy groups, householders and random street drunks worldwide since it launched.
However, few countries have been as problematic for Google's all-seeing Astras/Opels as Germany, which much to the ad-broker's apparent surprise has some kind of bizarre cultural aversion to anything that smacks of surveillance.
As part of its effort to secure approval for the service from German authorities, the firm promised earlier this year that it would give Germans the opportunity to opt out of the service from the off.
It even rolled in chief technology advocate Michael Jones to reassure Germans that: "We don't want to invade you".
Today in a blog posting, Google declared that its opt-out programme had been a success, sort of, under the headline, How many German households have opted-out of Street View?
Google then answers its own somewhat passive-aggressive question by saying that 244,237 households have opted out - "which equals 2.89 per cent of households" it adds sniffily. The blog post says that "two out of three opt-ots (sic)" came through its online tool. One might question whether non-online households are aware of either the service or the opt-out option. If not, has their privacy been infringed?
Either way, job done? Almost.
"Given how complex the process is, there will be some houses that people asked us to blur that will be visible when we launch the imagery in a few weeks time," Google says. "We’ve worked very hard to keep the numbers as low as possible but in any system like this there will be mistakes."
The mistakes are not necessarily on Google's part though. Some people apparently asked for their houses to be blurred, but "didn't give us their precise location." Perhaps they should have just sent their SSID or MAC address.
No worries though, because, as Google promises: "It won’t be long before you’ll be able to look at some of the most beautiful images of Germany using Street View. We’ve got a couple of nice surprises as well. We’ll be back with more news soon!"
Which means we'll be back with snaps of drunken herren with über-moustaches and wardrobe-malfunctioning fraus faster than you can say vorsprung durch technik. Assuming the bulk of our German readers can bring themselves to view the service, that is. ®