Google has halted Street View photography in Germany for no obvious reasons. The internet giant's move that comes despite a recent legal victory dished out by a court order declaring street photography legal in the country leaves the observers mystified.
This means that there will be no new Street View pics of Germany from Google. However, the existing imagery of streets of 20 German cities will remain.
Search Engine Land reported, Google has stopped Street View photography in Germany citing no plans to launch new imagery on Street View in Germany.
A company spokesperson told the publication the Google's priorities have changed: Our business priority is to use our Google cars to collect data such as street names and road signs to improve our basic maps for our users in a similar way that other mapping companies do.
With no clear reasons and explanations coming from Google, the tech observers are left puzzled at the search engine giant's decision. It's unclear if this decision is final, or if the company might change its plans in the future, the Search Engine Land report added.
Google's move to halt street view photography in the country comes as a shocker in the wake of the recent legal victory. A Berlin court in March vindicated Google Street View operation in Germany asserting that street photography was legal.
When company had announced its plans to launch street view, it faced objections from German officials who cited privacy concerns.
On the Privacy page of Google Maps, the company clarifies that Street View contains imagery that is no different from what you might see driving or walking down the street. Imagery of this kind is available in a wide variety of formats for cities all around the world. In select cases, Google will partner with an organization such as Disneyland Paris to schedule imagery collection of their property.
Google was forced into agreeing to allow German residents opt-out of having their buildings appearing online.
We have developed cutting-edge face and license plate blurring technology that is applied to all Street View images. This means that if one of our images contains an identifiable face (for example that of a passer-by on the sidewalk) or an identifiable license plate, our technology will automatically blur it out, meaning that the individual or the vehicle cannot be identified. If our detectors missed something, you can easily let us know, Google Maps website states, adding that users can request further blurring of a specific image.
Google Maps along with Google Earth use the Street View technology to provide panoramic views from various positions along many streets in the world.
While another major online tech publication, Mashable, speculated that one reason for Google's decision could be that the company's growing weary of blurring pictures of buildings requested by German citizens, the number of which is pushing 250,000 at the moment and growing ever larger, there are also questions on the implications of the development for Microsoft, which recently announced plans to launch Streetside, its own street photography service.
Objections against Microsoft Bing's street photography service also poured in quick with head of the Bavarian State Office for Data Protection giving objections to Bing's plans for letting residents opt-out of Streetside photography. Announcing Streetside, Microsoft had revealed plans of introducing its Street View competitor in Germany this summer with its mapping cars slated to be sent out in early May.