Street View driving update

Friday, July 9, 2010 | 6:04 AM

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In May we announced that we had mistakenly included code in our software in Street View cars that collected WiFi payload data. As soon as we discovered our error, we not only stopped collecting WiFi data entirely, but also grounded our fleet of cars globally to give us time to remove the WiFi scanning equipment and discuss what had happened with local regulators.

The WiFi data collection equipment has been removed from our cars in each country and the independent security experts Stroz Friedberg have approved a protocol to ensure any WiFi-related software is also removed from the cars before they start driving again.*

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. We expect to add more countries in time. Our cars will no longer collect any WiFi information at all, but will continue to collect photos and 3D imagery as they did before:
  • Photos: so that we can build Street View, our 360 degree street level maps. Photos like these are also being taken by TeleAtlas and NavTeq for Bing maps. In addition, we use this imagery to improve the quality of our maps, for example by using shop, street and traffic signs to refine our local business listings and travel directions; and
  • 3-D building imagery: we collect 3D geometry data with low power lasers (similar to those used in retail scanners) which help us improve our maps. NavTeq also collects this information in partnership with Bing. As does TeleAtlas.
We recognize that serious mistakes were made in the collection of WiFi payload data, and we have worked to quickly rectify them. 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. If you want more information about driving schedules, please look here

Posted by Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering, Google Geo

*We've updated this paragraph to clarify that both the hardware and software will have been removed from all Street View vehicles before they resume driving.


Smeknamn är inte tillgängligt said...

This is great to hear. Some parts of Stockholm have been completely left out (Danderyd), so I hope to see the Google-car come here soon!

TimByr said...

I look forward to Street View in Ireland. While in Paris and England it was an extremely useful tool for identifying businesses visually.

I am sad to see that the wifi based location services have been pulled from Street View cars completely due to the oversight. Its unfortunate that Google is targeted for its public image where a number of existing companies do the exact same.

InshoreSurveys said...

This is good news for Ireland especially where base imagery is so poor. A new mapping product will kickstart the 3d mapping/geo-modelling industry in this country. surely the already gathered data could be put live today!

IT Richie said...

That's great. Please, please, please add Puerto Rico! (A great oportunity was with 2010 Centroamerican Games in Mayaguez, PR - we needed those Street View)

Digitalyzer said...

How come there was WiFi scanning equipment in every car to support "mistakenly included code"?


Mike said...

If you are going to be doing any more mapping using bikes give me a shout! It looks like the best job ever! :)

JTyler23 said...

I realize this is a sensitive issue with a select few in Germany, but please add Deutschland to Street View as soon as possible! Can't wait to explore.

mamboman said...

Google Earth is fantastic, Google Maps is really practical, Google Street View can be very handy sometimes...
But what did the management of Google hope to achieve (and to provide, whom?) by their decision to install WiFi scanning equipment in their Street View photo cars?
Please, Google people, stick to your core business, you're good at it. But leave the common citizin his privacy!

andromida said...

Wi-Fi system itself need to be more secured. Accidentally anyone's data can come in anyone's computer and I think the person using Wi-Fi system, need to be more careful. I love the street view feature of Google Earth and I personally think Google should continue this project.I will be glad if Google add my city(dhaka) in their street view program.Thnak you so much.