please empty your brain below


what a great idea for a blog post. i should have suggested it ...

It's fascinating.

A quick check round shows a bike, long since stolen from a first floor balcony in Hackney Wick. Back then the method was queried, now, it has become obvious. Also, in another part of London, a distinctive friend with blurred face makes an appearance.

I've just spent 20 minutes checking out my street. Wow. Disappointed it won't let you meander off the beaten track though - I fancied a stroll down a path to a park - used to walk that way a lot until it got a bit too much like 'mugger central'.

Now to find out if the car was filming as it went past me. Hmmm. Maybe when I have more time.

What you couldn't see but no doubt would have spotted if you'd been on foot is that behind Southwark tube there is a pedestrianised street full of flowers and potted trees and lined with restaurants and bars using the railway arches. A hidden gem remains hidden!

BBC Breakfast were talking about this earlier. Seems it's not just your pictures that are being 'stolen'.

I suggest you send them a bill...

I don't think the Streetcar turned left at the lights, seeing as its a one way street. So it must have carried on, and for some reason just didn't photograph any further on.

...and you've never published a single streetscape photo on this blog without un-blurred faces in, or without un-blurred number plates.

Thought not.

"Snoop-fest." Really? The photos are months old, there's nothing there that someone walking down the road couldn't see, and Google have said that they will remove any photos where you find yourself in a compromising spot.

hehe - I'm now imagining some philandering husband having to go, cap in hand, to Google HQ to get them to remove the evidence of his wandering ways before his wife sees it...

Wot d'yer mean by this 'ere - reusing other people's stuff - did you ask for permission?
(Tut, you've fallen for that viral marketing thing haven't you?)
Anyway, I always thought you went places very few other mortals ventured - let alone a flamin streetcar with a periscope.

wow--i am so lost when it comes to figuring out the simplest sites. have no idea how to find streets to be curious about. will have to ask daughter after she returns from weekend to give me a tutorial.....(shakes head in embarassment)

Want to see Oxford Street? Well, you can't. There were road works that day, and part of the street was closed to traffic. So the Google Car didnt go down it. So officially it doesnt exist.

look at scalter street where the animal market used to be, there is a photoshoot which is attracting a lot of attention1

I genuinely can't see what the fuss is...I'm always out with my digital 'box brownie' & take snaps of anything & everything, & enjoy taking photos of people for my other photo blog. (
I haven't checked the google thingy, but would be interested to see what they have for Grosvenor Square, around the American Embassy, as I was there last Sunday taking snaps & got stopped by the old bill in case I was a terrorist! (I'm a white working class Londoner in his early forties!)

Thanks DG. I now live in the USA, and have done for the last 18 months. I check in to read you most days to catch up on a dose of London, but with this post you have managed to pick a street that I used to walk down everyday, Monday-Friday, for 5+ years (I would commute into Waterloo and then walk down The Cut & Union St to Southwark/Borough). Literally this has been a trip down memory lane. There are a couple of gems you missed by not going to The Cut yourself, but all in all not actually going and using Google was probably the way to go.

"hehe - I'm now imagining some philandering husband having to go, cap in hand, to Google HQ to get them to remove the evidence of his wandering ways before his wife sees it"

On the BBC news website is a report of a man caught on the camera going into a sex shop which he's asked to have removed. Also someone throwing up in the street, and also someone (apparently recognisable) being treated in the back of an ambulance.

Honestly, did Google not know that you cannot (legally) take someone's picture without their permission first?

I think it's great. I've just visited the street that I grew up in, in Canons Park, for the first time in 30 years.

Shocking. Where there used to be leafy front gardens now there a slabs of concrete with two cars parked. Literally *every* garden has gone.

"Honestly, did Google not know that you cannot (legally) take someone's picture without their permission first?"

Pretty sure this isn't true - copyright is with the photographer, not the subject - with a proviso that the person is not the primary subject of the photo if the photography is commercial.

Or maybe those many thousands of CCTV cameras in London aren't actually switched on?

Google isn't removing photographs for legal reasons, rather as a courtesy and to prevent bad PR.

Here's a well dodgy Google Street View shot.
(up against the wall, Birmingham)

Will the google car be stopped and asked if they have a license? Or told it is illegal to take pictures in public. Somehow think not. Happens to the rest of us on a regular basis. One lot told me I couldn't take a photo of tower bridge without permission from the council. Not very democratic this picture taking business

I'm not paranoid about privacy but I would like to put up some small resistance to big brother Google. How do I remove the shot of my house? I have tried using the Edit thingy but it doesn't give me the option of removing the photo.


Just go to "report a concern" at the bottom left of the image then fill in the form. Google removed a couple at my request overnight - although all I was doing was asking them to blur out a registration number.
Slightly over enthusiastic of them. Hopefully they'll get restored.

Thanks, Brad.

Yes, DG, right up against a Job Centre wall.

The first thing I did when I first visited Google Maps was to type in my postcode and look at the aerial view of my house. But now you can see streets and buildings from a "person's eye view", people seem to have concerns. However, I think Street View can work as long as it respects people's privacy, which it seems to be doing, albeit with a few oversights and teething problems (they're blurring faces and number plates, and removing images altogether on request).

In any case, the pictures are only what you'd see anyway if you visited that area. I'm sure that for a lot of areas, you could already find plenty of photos on websites such as Flickr even before Street View launched.

Maybe to lessen the controversy, Google's streetcars should have stuck to main roads, leaving out residential streets altogether?

Wave to the TfL Surface Transport bods hard at work in Palestra (that's your "blocky glass office block on stilts, on top of which is plonked what looks like an enormous shiny cereal packet").

what was at 1638 Coventry Rd, Birmingham - the image is gone...

There's nothing illegal about taking a picture of someone who is out on a public right of way. It becomes a little less nice when it's a picture of someone taken through a window...

It's interesting (in a manner of speaking) about the car licence plates - I looked at the green honda and found the plate had been obscured, but go back a step or two and it's not. (And Mitre Street is pretty full of visible licence plates too. Nice houses as well.)

As with all of such things (webcams, cctv, etc) I think there's a lot of potential for crime/thriller novels built on the premise of one moment, one unguarded moment, caught in time for everyone to see.

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