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Street View

November 23, 2010

In an apparent show of support for Google, several houses in Essen were pelted with eggs over the weekend. The vandals singled out houses which were blurred in the company's Street View service.

A blurred house in Google's Street View
Germany required Google to allow people to blur their houses in Street ViewImage: Screenshot google.de

Less than a week after Google launched Street View in Germany, the company has received some unsolicited support for its controversial service. On Saturday, vandals in the Bergerhausen area of Essen, in western Germany, threw eggs at several houses which are blurred out in Street View.

Members of the German government and local activists had cited privacy concerns in insisting Google give property owners the right to have their addresses blurred out. The service allows for a panoramic, highly-detailed view of city streets.

Not only did the amateur hit squad pelt the houses with eggs, they also taped notes stating, "Google's cool," to their mailboxes, according to local media reports.

A spokesperson for the Essen police department said the incident was booked as a case of property damage, although little was damaged.

"We'll see if there were witnesses," he told Deutsche Welle. "We don't yet have any leads pointing to a perpetrator."

Lena Wagner, a Google spokeswoman said the company "distances itself completely" from people such as the egg throwers in Bergerhausen.

"We've clearly given people the possibility to blur out their house, and naturally we respect their wishes," she told Deutsche Welle. "Those people who want to make use of the function should do so."

Author: Gerhard Schneibel
Editor: Cyrus Farivar