July 10, 2010

Google To Resume Street View Next Week

After much controversy surrounding the collection of private information by Internet search giant Google, the company announced it will return its "Street View" cars back to the road next week, but all wireless scanning equipment has been removed.

Google's vice president of engineering, Brian McClendon stated in a blog post that the camera-equipped cars will begin operating again in four countries next week and in others later.

"Having spoken to the relevant regulators, we have decided to start Street View driving in Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden again starting next week," he said in the posting.

Google parked all Street View cars in May after disclosing that they had accidentally collected private data sent over unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

The California-based search giant is facing investigations and lawsuits from a number of countries in connection with the illegally obtained data.

Google maintains that the data collected from Wi-Fi networks from more than 30 countries was purely by accident. McClendon said the cars will no longer collect Wi-Fi information, "but will continue to collect photos and 3D imagery as they did before."

"We recognize that serious mistakes were made in the collection of Wi-Fi payload data, and we have worked to quickly rectify them," he added.

"However, we also believe that Street View is a great product for users, whether people want to find a hotel, check out a potential new home or find a restaurant," McClendon said.

Google has issued an apology in Australia over the collection of private data there by its cars and has pledged to work closely with the country's officials in the future.

"We want to reiterate to Australians that this was a mistake for which we are sincerely sorry," Google senior vice president Alan Eustace said in a blog post.

"Maintaining people's trust is crucial to everything we do and we have to earn that trust every single day," Eustace said. "We are acutely aware that we failed badly here."

Street View, launched in 2006, allows users of Google Maps to view panoramic street scenes and take virtual tours through city streets such as New York, Paris and Hong Kong.


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