Google admits imaging error in Street View test run | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 04.11.2010
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Google admits imaging error in Street View test run

A technical error in Google's controversial Street View mapping service allowed some users to briefly view houses that should have been blurred out. Google said it was correcting the error.

Pixilated image of house in Street View

Some buildings should be blurred out in the service

Just two days after Web giant Google introduced the first images of Germany in its Street View mapping feature, the company partially shut the service down due to an error that temporarily allowed some blurred-out houses to be clearly viewed.

Google began a trial period of its Street View service on Tuesday by showing selected streets in the southern town of Oberstaufen, which had invited the company to use it as its guinea pig. Amid privacy concerns, Google had agreed to blur images of buildings whose owners did not want their property shown.

Google spokesperson Kay Oberbeck told Deutsche Welle in an e-mail statement that users of Apple's iPhone and iPad had contacted the company, saying buildings which should have been blurred out were clearly visible for a moment before the pixilation kicked in.

"We immediately removed the affected pictures from Street View and are currently correcting the program error for Apple applications," Oberbeck said. "We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused."

German data protection authorities are currently investigating possible privacy violations by Google, after the company admitted last month that it had captured some e-mails and passwords through open Wi-Fi networks in the course taking pictures for Street View.

Along with the images of Oberstaufen, Google also launched various images of public spaces across Germany.

Author: Andrew Bowen

Editor: Sean Sinico

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