Google Street View returns to Germany after a 10-year hiatus due to privacy concerns

Google Maps revolutionized the way we see the world with the launch of Street View in 2007, and it spread across the world in the years that followed. However, the service did not find open ears everywhere in the world. One of the countries that rejected the service early on was Germany, where protests and lawsuits over privacy issues caused Google to stop rolling out Street View in 2011 after it only covered about 20 major cities soon after it was launched in the US country was introduced. In 2023, the company finally returns to the European country, allowing tourists and residents to explore landmarks and neighborhoods with up-to-date visuals.

Android Police Video of the Day: Scroll to continue the content

Google announced on its German Keyword blog that starting June 22, Street View cars will be returning to Germany for shots across the country, which it plans to release in bulk over the coming months. To prevent a privacy outcry like last time, Google is working closely with a German data protection authority and making sure its images comply with the country’s data protection regulations. This also includes the obligation to delete older images, which means that once the new footage is live, you can no longer travel as far into the past with Street View in Germany as in other countries.

As in other countries, it will be possible to disable Street View coverage with the option to pixelate your home or business. Google starts with a blank slate, so anyone who veiled their house a decade ago has to request it again.

Current satellite images and outdated Street View photos do not go well together and make a tram stop in front of Berlin Central Station disappear

The update to Street View was urgently needed. As we reported in April 2022, Street View in Germany is hopelessly outdated, many streets and buildings are unrecognizable. Google Germany itself acknowledges this in its blog post, showing that its Munich offices do not exist at all in the 2008 Street View images that are still live. At the same time, Street View cars could still be seen on German roads over the years, but the images were never released and were only used to update Google Maps with more accurate house numbers, intersections, traffic lights and lanes.

A lot has changed in the years since Google Street View Germany stopped updating. Apple has successfully and quietly rolled out Look Around, its version of Street View for Apple Maps, in the country. A representative study from May 2023 cited by Google also shows that more than 90% of Germans take Street View positively or very positively, so that this time Google could possibly be successful with Street View in the country.

Thank you Anna