It’s been a long wait, but Google’s ground-level imagery feature Street View of Singapore is at last a go.
According to Google, Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia to get Street View. The service is currently offered in Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan (outside of Taipei city).
Google Street View was first launched in five US cities back in May 2007. The service provides users with a 360-degree horizontal and 290-degree vertical panoramic street-level view on Google Maps.
In October last year, an eagle-eyed reader first alerted ZDNet Asia sister site, CNET Asia, to a silver Opel Astra sedan with mounted cameras and a Google logo at a junction between Dorset Road and Kampong Java Road.
When we asked Google when the service would be available on Google Maps Singapore, the search giant then replied vaguely “in the coming months”.
Aside from collecting the street images of Singapore with a car, Google is also using a tricycle that resembles an ice cream cart to traverse areas not accessible by a motor vehicle, such as pedestrian pathways and bike trails. The Trike is used for the first time in Southeast Asia (and the second time in the Asia-Pacific region, after Japan) though the company didn’t say how long the three-wheeled drive will be in Singapore or where it will go to next in Asia Pacific.
Since its launch, Street View has invited controversy over privacy issues in many countries.
To address this, Google uses a computer algorithm to prowl through its image data looking for faces and car license plates and then blurring them. The company added that the pictures users see on Street View can be a few months to a few years old, depending on the time lapsed between when the images were collected and processed. There are also tools for a user to request removal of pictures with inappropriate content.