Pressure mounts on Google's UK street view service

Google's UK version of street view for Google Maps launched last week in the UK and has created a media circus ever since.

The Google Maps feature, which allows users to browse through popular cities with a set of high quality photos, has created controversy and huge media interest in the UK as many fear for the privacy implications of such a service. Google has begun pulling images that users have found inappropriate.

The Telegraph is reporting that Google has removed images of naked toddlers playing in a garden square in north London that were captured on the mapping system. Google claims users can use the "report a problem" section of Google maps to report concerns about images or have their own house removed. According to the company these reports will be dealt with promptly.

The service has created a media storm in the UK with major broadcasters like the BBC and Channel 4 focusing on the privacy concerns of many home owners. Google insists it has followed strict guidelines and consulted the UK's authorities on any privacy concerns.

The company has removed several images but we have compiled some British classics below (fortunately for British wildlife, Bambi hasn't been killed, yet):

London man puking up on pavement

Kids throwing stones at house

Where's wally?

London workers perv at Electric Dolls on a photo shoot

Taking a nap or slightly drunk?

If you gotta go, you gotta go!

Naked fence painting, an emerging British trend

Who lives in a house like this?

Lucky this mans face is blurred

Parking wardens out in force

Two red light dodging cyclists crash to a halt

A bin collector peers into another English tradition, boobs on Page 3

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54 Comments

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All this hype from a country that has cctv cameras almost literally on every corner. Is it just because they can actually see themselves online? Who remembers the bores or was it boring from the us complaining? Just hit the report button for christs sake ...

Before anyone says anything, check my profile I am from the UK. Maybe we are just a nation of moaners? I know I am myself at times ...

Well, you lose the drunkards on the street in the US cause usually they're hidden away or it's at night.

It's funny that they caught that photoshoot though, whoever the Electric Dolls are.

Meh. Note how ALL faces there are blurred, where they're looking into the camera. Google's face recognition tech is very accurate, and I think that they try hard enough for their case to hold up in court. Besides, these people are all legal to photograph -- *without* blurs.

This article really has brightened up my day as I'm in lectures and at work from 9am until 10pm! Thanks, Tom! :D

The guy painting the fence naked is hilarious! I feel sorry for the guy being sick :D

It's good that Google are being quick to remove pictures which people complain about though. No one I've spoken to seems to mind Google Streetview - we've all been searching for where we live

after painting the fence nude dude, and passed-out drunk dude, two dudes giving a parking ticket seems kinda...lack luster. Phunny shots should be better organized for maximum lulz.

Who thinks about being published to the internet and beeing wathed by millions, when doing things in the city or his houses...

Sean Bradford said,
I don't quite understand this one and the caption?

It's a sex shop, and far too many people are prudes :P

I don't quite get the traffic warden one, myself.

Tom W said,
He's walking out of a sex shop....


Oh, all I can see from the name of the store is:

Se Shop

Thought it was another dodgy store over there :P.

I found my friend on the Glasgow shots, he's a postman and doesn't mind one bit being on there. I also spotted some council worker in the city centre reading Page 3 :D.

I don't see why people complain, it's not like they weren't in a public place when the pics were taken.

I wish they'd redo the images for Australia though, the pics here are really really low quality

-T- said,
I found my friend on the Glasgow shots, he's a postman and doesn't mind one bit being on there. I also spotted some council worker in the city centre reading Page 3 :D.

I don't see why people complain, it's not like they weren't in a public place when the pics were taken.

I wish they'd redo the images for Australia though, the pics here are really really low quality



I think it's great.

I hope the pictures or updated on a regular basis, soon we could have live streaming shots.

I don't know how to link to it. However just search for 293 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow, and you'll see the guy in his van outside a Subway

It's not illegal to record or take pictures in a public place, so as you said, if they're happy to behave in that way, then no problem should be found.

We have 20% (1/5) of the worlds cctv anyway so I am sure that is what they get recorded on day-in-day out.

was about to comment - arn't most British recorded something like 20 times a day or some odd and disturbing number? it was held up as a reason not to do widespread CCTV in my home town a while ago. Why is a company doing it in public places that much more disturbing then the all-present government?

Rolith said,
was about to comment - arn't most British recorded something like 20 times a day or some odd and disturbing number? it was held up as a reason not to do widespread CCTV in my home town a while ago. Why is a company doing it in public places that much more disturbing then the all-present government?

One could also argue that Google is more honest about it in that anyone can then go online and see what they captured. I doubt the UK government will open up all their CCTV cameras to the web.

I don't understand the outrage for several reasons. Firstly this isn't a new thing. It's been out in the states for a long time and it was inevitable it was going to come to the UK (and other countries). Has journalism gone so unbelievably slack that they suddenly think that this is a NEW thing? Why were they not banging the privacy drum back then BEFORE it was launched?!

Secondly - all of these people felt comfortable enough doing whatever embarassing things they did in public. If they're happy to do it in public, why are they not happy to have it caught on film? The guy throwing up, the guy painting naked - if you're embarassed about it, then YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Screw them, and screw the self righteous and tardy journalism in this country - they never have any problems printing paparazzi shots of celebrities in embarassing or compromising positions - why should the general public escape such scrutiny?

Yeah the media over here has been going a bit crazy about it all. Thought it would be fun to compile some more amusing ones that have been found!

Just so you know my comments weren't aimed at Neowin btw - just the tabloids in general. I know you guys aren't jumping on the bandwagon

I find thing highlighting of certain photos fun, but slightly weird. If you think about it, the rationale is often "wow, look at the stuff Google is finding, how embarrassing for the people in the shots" ... but Google isn't the one highlighting them :P

(Not a complaint, just a weird little effect of how the media/medium works.)

The one with the tail of a large Fish in the roof, I know of.

I am sure it is the home of the same man that drives a tank to work in Brixton.

People fighting and throwing up drunk is normal for London.

I can't wait for it to be Britain wide, then I can see my street and pull funny faces.

HairyTash said,
Only if he drives his tank from Oxford - this is the Headington shark :D


The pictures are from London, Oxford is in Oxfordshire, which is not London.

Is London just...weirder then the US or is their quality control slipping? I don't remember this many bizzar images showing up, and we have google streetview in downtowns of dozzens of cities at this point

Rolith said,
Is London just...weirder then the US or is their quality control slipping? I don't remember this many bizzar images showing up, and we have google streetview in downtowns of dozzens of cities at this point

And these types of photos turned up when that was launched too.

UK =/= London. They covered quite a few cities in the initial launch, including Bristol (went to check on my house, of course )

sorry bout offending your UK branding :-P And I don't remember guy puking on the side of the road and drunken dude passed out at storefront pictures making the rounds of my reading.. though I was living a sheltered non-neowin life back then.

Rolith said,
sorry bout offending your UK branding :-P And I don't remember guy puking on the side of the road and drunken dude passed out at storefront pictures making the rounds of my reading.. though I was living a sheltered non-neowin life back then. :)

It happens day and night in the UK.

There is a majority of youth and a minority of adults that think it acceptable to get bladdered then fight, throw up then take up valuable space in A&E every night.

Well the politicians don't care and prisons are full.

Kirkburn said,
They covered quite a few cities in the initial launch, including Bristol (went to check on my house, of course )


I was in Bristol last Spring - my company has a plant there - nice town. And...I used Google maps which made it easy to find my way around (trying to keep it on topic! :-) ).

Though I must admit that driving from Bath back to my hotel in Bristol at night, in the rain, on the opposite side of the road that I'm used to was far from easy for an American driver like me - no matter how good a map I had.

leesmithg said,
It happens day and night in the UK.

There is a majority of youth and a minority of adults that think it acceptable to get bladdered then fight, throw up then take up valuable space in A&E every night.

Well the politicians don't care and prisons are full.


This is when a serious humanitarian starts thinking about giving such people a "purpose in life". Sadly, for a nation which has decried and diluted religion with Marxist ideas like "religion is a crutch for weak-minded people, is for noobs with no brains"... you get these "weak-minded" people roaming the streets inwardly crying for help, sometimes getting spotted on Google Earth.

Bleeding heart? No,

I'm just worried for a country that used to send missionaries out across the world now godless; now more willing to pass the buck and incarcerate, than pick up the pieces and rehabilitate.