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Google could bring controversial Street View to region

Google could bring Street View navigation solution to Middle East

Search engine giant Google has not ruled out launching its controversial Street View navigation solution here in the Middle East, a spokesperson confirmed to Windows Middle East yesterday.

Google's Street View is a Google Maps- and Google Earth-hosted software tool that allows internet users to view Google-snapped street-level photographs of major cities.

Following its initial roll-out in the US, Street View sparked controversy recently in the UK when Google's camera cars set out onto the streets there, causing privacy and civil liberties campaigners to question how the company could protect the identities of people snapped in such shots.

Asked if Middle East Street Views were part of our future, Google's spokesperson commented yesterday: "We are always interested in making our products available in as many languages and countries as possible", however he added that no specific Middle East or Gulf timelines had yet been set.

Quizzed further about how Google might deal with this region's cultural sensitivities regarding the photographing of strangers, particularly women, the spokesperson claimed Google "always abides by the laws of the countries it operates in", adding, "We're happy to discuss our products and services with interested parties.

"We will not launch in any country until we are comfortable Street View complies with local law, including law relating to the display of images of individuals," Google's spokesperson concluded.

Google Street View applies technologies such as face and licence plate blurring to retain the anonymity of those people and vehicles it photographs.