Village forms human chain to stop Google Street View car


A small village in Buckinghamshire has thumbed its nose to the world, and refused to allow Google to index its streets. Broughton, which is close to Milton Keynes, has suffered a few burglaries in recent months, so when the Street View car rolled into town, they formed a human chain across the street to stop it going any further.

“My immediate reaction was anger,” said resident Paul Jacobs “how dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent?” The villagers called the police and accosted the driver, accusing him of “invasion of privacy”.

Google, for thier part, issued a statement saying that the vehicle was using public roads and wasn’t breaking any laws. They also reminded the public that anyone can remove their house from the service, and they also blur faces and vehicle number plates.

The street view car has recently been spotted in Reading, Preston, Ipswitch and Winchester. The service recently went live in London, but has been available in the USA for years.

(via Telegraph, image via @ruskin147)

Exploring London's highlights with Google Street View

As Dan reported yesterday, Google has quietly rolled out Street View for a select number of cities in the UK.

Of course, London is one of those included allowing us to explore our immediate surroundings without even leaving the office. Judging from a photo of outside my house, the photography is around eight months old, as I remember moving a table visible in my window shortly after moving into my flat.

Seety: gazumping Google Street View for London


Google’s been taking its sweet time over the release of Street View for the UK, and as happens when you take too long over something, another company’s gone and done it instead. Well, not the whole of the UK, just central London, but that’s good enough for me.

Visiting, you get a Google Map of central London, and you just click to open up a Street-View esque image of the area, which you can then navigate around with arrows. All faces are blurred, and some of the smaller roads haven’t quite been indexed, but the majority of central London is present and correct.

It stretches most of the way up Holloway Road to the north, and not very far south – just down to Elephant and Castle. Out east it stretches approximately to Bow and Limehouse, and west, you don’t make it much further than Shepherd’s Bush. It needs a bit of extension, then, but what’s present is very impressive, especially given the higgledy-piggledy layout of London’s streets compared to American cities.

It’s unfortunate, though, that as soon as Google brings out its own Street View product, which can’t be far off, then this will become mostly obsolete. Still, in the meantime, enjoy looking around London, and if you find anything interesting, send us the screenshot!

Apple releases iPhone firmware 2.2: better maps, Mail, Safari, podcasts, call quality


I realise that this is fairly irrelevant news if you don’t own an iPhone, but for die-hard Apple handset fans, the big news of the day is that firmware version 2.2 is finally here and ready to download.

As usual, it’s a fairly hefty download, so beef up your broadband connection for the 246MB ride.

Once done, you’ll get some nifty new features. How useful they are depends on how you use the iPhone, of course…

Google Maps adds live traffic info for England


In all honesty, I thought this feature was already active, but then I don’t drive, so what do I know? Nothing, clearly. Anyway. The Google Maps team has added live traffic information to major roads in England. Just England – no Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland just yet.

If you enable this layer on your maps, it’ll tell you what traffic conditions are currently like, as well as predicting what traffic will be like at any particular day and time, based on past conditions. Nice, Google. Now roll out Street View, please.

Google Maps UK

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Google Maps for Mobile gets Street View and walking directions


Google has updated its Maps for Mobile service, bringing 3D Street View to Java-enabled phones, as well as offering walking directions to any destination.

It has also included more information on destinations, including the ability to read reviews of a business.

This addition makes Maps a much more useful service where, arguably, you need it the most — on the move. Walking directions are great in the inner city where driving just isn’t practical, and when London has been fully “Street View-ised” we should be able to enjoy the same 3D views as those in lager US cities do…

Is Google shooting video footage for Streetview?

google_car_ladybug.jpgSo, Gizmodo has a post on the cameras being used by Google’s vans to shoot street-level photos for the Street View feature on Google Maps. And they’re pretty nifty too – being Ladybug2 cameras from a company called Point Grey Research.

But that’s not the interesting thing. Apparently, these things don’t just take still pictures – they can also shoot video at 30 frames-per-second and 1024×768 resolution. Gizmodo makes the sensible suggestion that since these vans are roaming the US, it would be logical for them to be capturing video footage too.