I can't resist commenting on another piece of news related to maps …

Google Street View -- Tottenham Court Road London   

Google launched it's StreetView tool for London today. I remember when this happened in Tokyo. Perhaps Google's following me…

So what's new?

(1) Privacy

I noticed that Google has already blurred the faces of the people that are in view on this tool. The fact that Google showed people's faces when StreetView launched in Japan sparked a backlash and demands for greater respect for the privacy of individuals.

But however hard Google tries, there are bound to be some people who find embarrassing or amusing images in this tool. Google's view of London will now be scrutinized by millions of people – and Google can only have had a fraction of that manpower to audit this.

(2) Zoom

I get the impression that you can zoom in closer to things in the London StreetView than you can in Tokyo. That's nice.

(3) Image stitching problems

I noticed problems (like the one above) where images have been rather clumsily stitched together. One of my colleagues found that his house had been cleaved in two. (Or at least that's how it appeared on Google's StreetView). It seems odd to me that something which was executed so well in the US and Japanese StreetViews should be slightly botched this time.

I'm looking forward to the first reports of odd / amusing / embarrassing images … Won't be long now.