Google to launch Street View in Ireland today

30 Sep 2010

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Google’s ingenious, yet controversial, Street View component of Google Maps is due to go live in Ireland today after Google cars and Google trikes conducted intensive mapping of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.

Street View is a service on Google Maps that gives users the option of exploring a street or historical site at street level and take in panoramic views of that setting.

The service is expected to be launched at Google’s Dublin headquarters later this morning by Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin TD.

Google cars arrived in Dublin earlier this year with the aim of mapping out city centres plus suburban and outlying areas.

Last month, Google stepped up this activity by putting an 18-stone vehicle called the Trike on Irish streets that allowed the Google cameras to go where cars don’t.

The Trike was able to collect street-level imagery of some of Ireland’s top tourist destinations and historic monuments.

The new Aviva Stadium and Dublin Zoo were among the first locations to be filmed by the Google Trike. Other locations confirmed to be cycled by the Google Trike are The Botanical Gardens, Phoenix Park, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin Castle, the Garden of Remembrance, Rathfarnham Castle, The Iveagh Gardens, War Memorial Gardens and Fota Wildlife Park. Locations will be updated online.

Controversy

However, the Street View service became mired in controversy earlier this year when it emerged the Street View technology in Google cars were intercepting private Wi-Fi data. The equipment apparently had “mistakenly” contained code that caused it to gather Wi-Fi data.

And while countries like Germany, France and Spain have asked Google to hand over Wi-Fi data that was intercepted by Google’s Street View teams, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission told the search giant to destroy the data.

“We just told them to delete it,” a spokesman for the Data Protection Commission told Siliconrepublic at the time. “Our normal response to improper data is to delete it on the spot, Germany took a different take.”

“When they reported this, we told them to delete it and get the deletion verified by a third party, which they did.

“They have given us an assurance that they won’t do it again,” the spokesman said at the time.

Google car

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com