Germans Reject Street View In Large Numbers

    September 20, 2010

Anyone who’s been looking forward to browsing Google Street View images of Germany should prepare to encounter lots of blank or ultra-blurry spots.  A report’s indicated that hundreds of thousands of Germans may have taken advantage of an opt-out process that Google made available.

A Spiegel Online article established 100,000 as the minimum number of people who have already opted out.  Which of course seems like rather bad news for Google, given what the figure seems to say about public opinion.

GoogleMaking matters worse, though, is the fact that the article continued, "[S]ources with inside information close to the company said the figure was in the several hundreds of thousands."

And what’s more, the opt-out window won’t even close until October 15th.

So it looks like a significant fraction of the German population wants no part of the Street View project.  Now, Google has to worry whether that percentage will increase over time (imagine if there’s a "Facebook robbery"-style story involving Street View), or whether Germans might start to object to the other ways in which it collects data.

There’s also a strong possibility that privacy groups and individuals in other countries will push for Street View opt-out programs.  Stay tuned.