Google Street View: Good, Evil or maybe just a little bit unethical?

Mar. 20, 2009 | by Jonathan Stewart


After watching Matt Brittin (Google UK) getting quizzed on newsnight yesterday about if Google Street Maps is ethical we thought we’d use our network and add to the debate. 

Street View UK allows anyone in the world to type an address or postcode and see a 360 degree picture of the street – including close-ups of buildings, cars and people. Hitwise have produced some nice stats around the launch highlighting that since its launch in the UK visits to Google Maps UK have increased by 41%, marking the 19th of March the sites’ busiest day ever.

We’ve heard on the grapevine that it will be coming to Brighton very soon, a few people have spotted the Google Streetview car in around town Salt Dean and Lancing areas.

So here’s what we and our network think…


/ for checking out areas visually before travelling to them

/  for tourist attractions that you may not ever have the money to travel to

/ for local visual knowledge – i.e if travelling to view properties from the outside you can check them easily on street view

/ Integration of local business listings would be really cool, check people’s offices etc

/ “Genius. V useful for househunters and estate agents. Loads of fun for everyone else, in an armchair traveller kind of way. Primelocation

Not taking sides…

neither genius nor evil, actually. Good for getting Google talked about and kind of interesting. But not useful, not evil. niljay

Evil (or maybe just slightly bad) because…

/ it makes it easy for burglars to check out victims

/ it could encourage descrimination of people based on the areas that they live

/ Breaches of privacy (people featured on pictures etc)

/ Not all people’s faces and car numbers are actually blocked out

/ “its like the end of big brother! Google stores info over citzens that governments would kill for and we love them for it! (evil!!!) linkmonkey

/ “busted” csuarez

What do you think?

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    Comments (15)

    • Chris Eden

      It's now live in Brighton...Here's iCrossing towers 11, 2010 11:21 am

    • Sam

      Anyone else beginning to think the driver was just having a week off in brighton in the Summer? Or he actually lives here? I saw him too - but nothing has come about yet unfortunatelyJan 15, 2010 04:50 pm

    • Jaxon beganose

      I saw it going up dyke road and turning into buckingham road around these dates. I ran after it hoping to be immortalised forever, though dunno if he was filming or just driving around looking for a toilet, how do you tell? And when will it appear, how long does it take?Jul 20, 2009 08:47 pm

    • James

      I saw a Google StreetView car (it was a Vauxhall Astra) behind New England House in Brighton at about midday on Wednesday (22 April).
      What are people blathering about invasions of privacy? Street View is a fantastic resource. I recently had cause to drive into London. Because of Street View I can now print out directions that show photographs of what to expect at each junction.
      If it's an invasion of privacy, then so are the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson.Apr 25, 2009 12:04 pm

    • Max

      Google Street View car spotted passing Varndean School, heading south along Ditchling Road and turning east into Hollingbury Park Avenue at 13:09 on Wednesday 23rd April. I waved but hope they'll blur my face.Apr 23, 2009 04:57 pm

    • beverly

      I saw the google streetview car yesterday in brighton at 17 hours, in Southover Street!!! Suckers!!!!! I was in a taxi at the time, talking to the driver and pointing at the BLOODY streetview car. Unfortunately I did not have a camera at this time and neither did I have some rotten eggs.Apr 21, 2009 08:17 am

    • lamara

      the google map car drove past me on queens road up by the train station about a week ago ( 14th april ish )Apr 20, 2009 08:07 pm

    • Clive

      Just seen the car in Wilson Avenue near Whitehawk and Woodingdean 15:40; parked on the grass verge by Swanborough Drive.Apr 19, 2009 04:08 pm

    • Ian

      Expect a rise in disappearing Caravans and StatuesApr 13, 2009 08:18 pm

    • Ian

      It was filming Neville Road Hove and all of Hangleton on WednesdayApr 13, 2009 08:18 pm

    • Robotperson. Braindump of Brighton based information architect, Rob Pearson.

      [...] on the street is that Google Streetview is coming to Brighton, at least if these spyshots in Saltdene are to be believed. Oh how I would have loved to have seen [...]Mar 27, 2009 03:00 pm

    • Marie

      I think I'm part of the "not taking sides" side of the discussion. Until I hear of something going seriously wrong (burglary, discrimination, etc.) I don't have much of a strong opinion on it.Mar 26, 2009 01:17 am

    • Mike Ashworth

      the google street car has been spotted in Worthing today as wellMar 24, 2009 06:05 pm

    • Alan

      Just take a look at some of the other crazy stuff Google Street View has captured!
      Mar 20, 2009 06:24 pm

    • Dan Goodwin

      The Google Street View car has been spotted near Brighton. Hopefully the new iCrossing offices should be on there soon: 20, 2009 05:26 pm

    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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