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Old 12-11-2007, 08:01 AM   #1
ChunkyMonkey
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Google Street View

Check it out when you have the chance.
http://maps.google.com/

When you get to Boston, click on the Streetview button on the upper right hand side of the map.

Views seem fairly recent with the North End parks and Chinatown parks represented.


Get ready for your close-up
Google's acclaimed, criticized Street View bears down on Boston


By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff | December 11, 2007

Google Inc.'s controversial Street View feature, which offers 360-degree, street-level images of urban life so clear that passersby often can be identified, is set to make its Boston debut this morning.

Starting at around 10 a.m., Internet users who click on the "Street View" box on Google Maps (maps.google.com), will be able to peek at images from streets in Boston and surrounding communities. The views were stiched together from images taken by Google employees over the past year from cars and vans equipped with cameras.

The feature, which already captures street scenes in 15 cities across the country, has become popular among people planning vacations, searching for shops or restaurants, or checking out landmarks such as Wrigley Field in Chicago or the Empire State Building in New York. But it drew howls of protests from privacy advocates when it was launched last May in San Francisco, where people complained about everything from photos of recognizable men entering adult bookstores to an image of a cat in a window.

"We take privacy concerns seriously," said Stephen Chau, product manager for Google Maps. "All these images are taken on public streets. It's exactly what you could see walking down the street."

But while Google has developed technology that can obscure faces and license plate numbers in Street View images, the Mountain View, Calif., company has said it will blur faces and plate numbers only in countries where it is required to do so, not in the United States.

Street View's rollout in Boston is part of a larger debut of the feature today in eight more cities, including Providence, Dallas, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Detroit, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. Google officials yesterday said they could not specify which Boston or suburban streets would be visible. The service covers only certain streets and neighborhoods in the cites where it's now available, although in some locations, such as San Francisco, the majority of streets have been photographed. Google plans eventually to extend Street View to cities and towns of all sizes worldwide.

Google is also introducing a "mashup" service today that will enable Internet users to import Street View panoramas from particular streets or neighborhoods to their own websites or blogs. The service is intended to make it easier for people to use Street View to recommend sights, locate coffee shops, or design cyber-walking tours.

While those might be legitimate uses of Street View, the feature also has the potential to be used for more questionable pursuits, such as compiling digital dossiers on individuals, critics warned.

"As Google gets closer and closer to its stated goal of indexing all the world's information, more and more issues arise," said John G. Palfrey Jr., executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. "In the privacy realm, Google is asking people for a lot of trust. The ball is really in Google's court to prove they're not going to violate people's privacy."

Other companies also have released products in the drive-by image space, including EveryScape Inc. in Waltham and Povo Inc. in Boston. EveryScape moved up its launch to the same day as Google's to capitalize on the publicity generated by the larger company.

"Street View does what it's intended to do very well," said Jim Schoonmaker, the EveryScape chief executive. "But they're focused on streets. We've been up and down ski mountains, on beaches, and in and out of businesses like restaurants and dental offices."

Images from Street View and similar services are not live. They capture a point in time when sections of city streets were photographed, typically over a period of months, by small teams of Google employees driving in company cars with roof-mounted cameras equipped with global positioning technology that digitally matches the images with their locations on a map. The company hopes to refresh its images to document changing streets, but its highest priority has been expanding to new cities, Chau said.

Internet users visiting Street View are shown a map of the United States and can click on icons shaped like cameras to view cities Google has photographed. From there, they can type in a street address or call up blue-outlined streets to view images that can be rotated and zoomed in.

Google, in refusing to blur faces in US cities, has faced a chorus of critics in cities already catalogued in Street View, such as San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, who have called on the company to install technology that will make people pictured more anonymous. One of Street View's critics, Kevin Bankston, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a public interest group focusing on technology issues, was photographed on Street View smoking on his way to work in San Francisco.

"That was of concern to me because not all of my family knew I smoked," Bankston said. Google ultimately removed the image at his request, but Bankston said the incident demonstrated the potential for worse abuse if other people were photographed going to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, health clinics for sensitive procedures, or other places that could compromise their privacy. He said he felt the Google feature was part of an ominous trend that included people taking pictures of others with camera phones and posting them on the Internet.

"Rather than a Big Brother scenario, we're looking at a Little Brother scenario where more and more of us are surveilling each other," Bankston warned. "That is a trend that is fraught with a level of privacy risk that we as a society have not yet come to grips with."

Google's Chau, however, said that while Street View critics have been vocal, the company has received no more than a couple of dozen requests from people seeking to remove pictures of themselves since the Street View feature was launched last spring.

"This hasn't been a big concern among our users," he said. "The biggest complaint is the service isn't available in their city yet."

Article:
http://www.boston.com/business/techn...your_close_up/
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:15 AM   #2
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Re: Google Street View

Bostons street view network is very extensive. Most minor streets are covered in the central and northern parts. Even suburbs like winchester have minor dead-end streets photographed.

Looks to be more detailed than the other cities, except for san francisco.

Pictures seem to date from august-september
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:37 AM   #3
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Re: Google Street View

Dear god, they have it all the way out to Worcester!
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:00 PM   #4
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Re: Google Street View

Wow! I went to my place...nothing great, but then I went to my cousin's place and there he was standing on the sidewalk talking to my aunt and my other cousin. Cool, but kinda spooky. It's only a matter of time before it gets used as evidence in a crime case or something to that effect.

Will this someday be in real time?
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:05 PM   #5
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Re: Google Street View

^^ That would be double plus ungood.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:30 PM   #6
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Re: Google Street View

The pictures in the North End seem to date from late June to early July. There is a banner on Hanover St for the feast of St Joeseph, which ran July 27th-29th.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:37 PM   #7
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Re: Google Street View

why can i not make this work.

I remember it was easy to navigate when it came out for manhattan.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:55 PM   #8
Corey
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Re: Google Street View

Awesome.

Now I can visit without paying for parking :-P
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:53 PM   #9
TC
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Re: Google Street View

Quote:
Originally Posted by nico View Post

Will this someday be in real time?

Hope this wasn't a real question.

(I am curious to know how often google plans on updating them though)
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:08 PM   #10
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Re: Google Street View

Quote:
Originally Posted by TC View Post
Hope this wasn't a real question.

(I am curious to know how often google plans on updating them though)
I would suspect they'll update when there are major changes in the streetscape; e.g., when the waterfront gets built out.
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:17 PM   #11
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Re: Google Street View

Quote:
^^ That would be double plus ungood.
haha! nice 1984 reference!
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:35 PM   #12
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Re: Google Street View

Quote:
Originally Posted by stellarfun View Post
I would suspect they'll update when there are major changes in the streetscape; e.g., when the waterfront gets built out.

Judging by the downtown satellite image, thats not a factor.

Im guessing every 3 years on satellite, maybe up to 10 on streetscape.
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:08 PM   #13
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Re: Google Street View

Some places are very densely mapped, and yet much of Roxbury and most of Newton is not. I don't really understand how they decided what was worth mapping.
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:11 PM   #14
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Re: Google Street View

Ya this is pretty cool... I got to see a lot of familiar places. My cousins house in Newton is in once clear picture, and I could zoom in on the the farmers porch where i usually sit. And i saw my grandparents houses in Arlington, and my uncle's amazing house in Winchester on Everett Ave. This is an amazing feature, i am surprised how advanced it.
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:37 PM   #15
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Re: Google Street View

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman View Post
Some places are very densely mapped, and yet much of Roxbury and most of Newton is not. I don't really understand how they decided what was worth mapping.
I think it was completely arbitrary
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