Jerusalem, Israel -- In surprising gesture of approval, Google's much adored, and often sued, Street View service will launch in Israel on April 22, which will include street level photographs from number of major Israeli cities and even the Dead Sea.
Your friends abroad may now be able to track your whereabouts when Google launches its Street View service for Israel. According to a report from Globes, the launch event is scheduled for this Sunday, April 22, will take place eight months after Israeli officials gave Google their approval to capture the country using their fleet of specially adapted cars, with a number of government officials set to join in on the unveiling.
Now, the search engine titan is poised to launch its Street View service in Israel, where they have accumulated insane amounts of images from a number of major citiies, including the country's famous Dead Sea, with the launch finally happening, this is a quick turn around of events.
The service, which has been approved by the Justice Ministry, which will contain 3-D images of public places in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and other popular tourist attractions in Israel such as the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, as well as Kinneret (Israel's largest fresh water lake), and historic cities Nazareth and Mitzpe Ramon, will be launched with a ceremony in Tel Aviv on April 22, Israel's business daily Globes reported.
The Street View car capturing Jerusalem (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
In fact, Israel will now be joining dozens of other countries around the globe whose streets or historic sites can be scanned by anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection. Commenting on the event, Google Israel CEO Meir Brand said the images, which are photographed by specially equipped Google cars, do not show any sites in real time.
However, discussions with Israeli authorities took three months to conclude, with Israeli newspaper Haaretz reporting that authorities demanded assurance that Google had an efficient and reliable way for residents to blur out personal information, including number plates and homes before the images for Street View were published online.
As a matter of fact, before giving nod of approval for the project, Israel's Justice Ministry set several conditions on Google Street View, including the right for Israelis to request further blurring of residences and license plates. Israeli officials reportedly had been concerned that terrorists would use the service to plan attacks in Israel.
“We only photograph public areas that are accessible to anyone in any case,” he said. “We do not post real-time photographs. We blur faces and license plate numbers, and there is another blurring method, whereby anyone using the service who sees something he thinks should be blurred can do so.”
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat on a Google tricycle on a backdrop of the Old City of Jerusalem, April 16, 2012. Photo by: Emil Salman
Above all, Google are required to manage any litigation resulting from the Street View service in Israel, rather than in the US.
Google have “assured not to dispute criminal claims that might be raised against Street View by arguing that the Law, Information and Technology Authority lacks standing to prosecute criminal claims against the company in Israel.”
The Google cars and tricycles, equipped with 360-degree cameras to take panoramic images, began collecting the images last September. Google Street View, an online mapping tool that provides a 3-D view of buildings, landmarks and streets, is currently available in 30 countries.
While regarded as one of Google's greatest services, the service has been involved in several litigations worldwide and was almost closed in Switzerland, was sued in Oregon and left Google paying €100,000 in France and €150,000 in Belgium to settle privacy suits.
Apart from this, the Israel Museum earlier this month became the country's only museum to display some of its exhibits online, as part of another program called the Google Art Project. As part of the project, Google works with 151 museums around the world to post high-resolution photographs of artwork and artifacts online.