Google to give Street View a refresh

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Google to give Street View a refresh

Bring in your wheelie bins.

Google’s Street View is set to get a refresh in Australia that will see higher-quality images incorporated into Google Maps.

The update, starting this month, will see Google's fleet of Street View cars drive around Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and parts of Tasmania.

In a blog posting, Google product manager Andrew Foster said Street View was “most useful” when imagery was kept up-to-date. He said this was why Google was sending the Street View fleet of cars back out on the road.

“The images we're collecting this time will be crisper than before,” Foster said.

“It will also make our face-blurring technology even more accurate, because faces and license plates will be easier for our blurring technology to recognise”.

Foster said the new imagery would be available “sometime within the next year” and reminded users that they could report any imagery they were “uncomfortable with".

“If you're ever uncomfortable with an image that appears in Street View ... it's a simple matter to have it blurred or removed,” Foster said.

Privacy update

Foster said that Google’s internal copy of imagery would be blurred within one year of publication.

“We retain Street View images on our databases so we can do things like improve our blurring technology and check our maps against the images so that we don't give you bad driving directions," Foster said.

“We will permanently blur images that we retain for internal use within one year of their publication on Street View,” he said. “This means that ... the only copy we keep will be the one in which faces and license plates are blurred”.

Foster said that Google believed blurring internal images after one year would strike a “good balance between protecting people's privacy and our ability to reduce mistakes in blurring”.

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