Google Street Views go nationwide
Wednesday 10 March 2010
Google's street-level imaging service has been extended to cover more than 95 per cent of UK roads.
From Thursday, 360-degree pictures from Penzance to the Shetland islands will go online, encompassing nearly a quarter of a million miles of British roads.
Google's Street View service has been available in 25 cities since last March, but the increased coverage makes an additional 210,000 miles of detailed mapping public.
Street View images are captured by Google's car, fitted with a special panoramic camera on its roof.
Pedestrianised areas were shot with Google's tricycle, including Stonehenge and the banks of Loch Ness.
Despite featuring images visible only from public roads, Street View has attracted critics who believe the detailed street-level information could be exploited by criminals.
Google has taken steps to preserve anonymity. Its technology automatically blurs number plates and faces and users can ask for their homes or cars to be removed.
Google believes the service will be a boost for UK businesses, which can embed its maps into their own sites for free. For example, a bed and breakfast owner can promote the local area by offering potential customers a virtual stroll through its streets.
Thursday's launch means the UK will catch up with other European countries - such as Spain, France, and Italy - which already boast nationwide coverage.
Because Street View images look best in dry, overcast conditions, Google said its biggest challenge in the UK was the weather.
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