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Google Street View Departs Germany

Although cleared in court, Google stops photographing German towns amid privacy complaints.

Google Street View's torrid affair with Germany is coming to an end. Although Google still plans to aggregate street name data in Germany, it will no longer send out its legions of Street View-equipped vehicles to snap photos of the roadways.

Google business priorities have shifted from Street View pictures to just the basics "in a similar way that other mapping companies do," a spokesperson told Search Engine Land. Another Google spokesperson told The Register the company has "no plans to launch new imagery on Street View in Germany at this stage" but that the images of the 20 German cities that are already launched will remain accessible.

Google's relationship with Germany has been icy even before Street View images were published last November, and became especially cold after Google was caught thieving Wi-Fi data from unsuspecting citizens on its drive-bys. The initial images were opt-in for German residents and blurred out for privacy protection -- but got no protection from flying dairy products, as some of those blurry houses were egged by Google fanboys.

Even though a Berlin court ruled that Street View doesn't invade people's privacy, Google has apparently made the decision that stepping back from a volatile situation is wiser than aggravating a sore spot. (For a look at how Google gets those shots, see Google Street Views Takes to a Tricycle.")

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