Street View on Google Maps comes to Canada
Google has expanded its popular Street View on Google Maps service to include imagery from eleven cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Whistler. With the 2010 Winter Games coming in February, Street View on Google Maps will enable people within Canada and worldwide to explore the host city and Olympic venues, from B.C. Place Stadium to Whistler Village, and other regions and landmarks across Canada.
Using Street View on Google Maps, a free feature, people can virtually explore and navigate neighbourhoods through panoramic street-level images. The tool first launched in May 2007 and is hugely popular worldwide; in 2009 alone, Canadians have viewed more than 150 million Street View images of other countries. Imagery is now available for 13 countries in addition to Canada: Australia, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the U.S. It is also available on Google Maps for Mobile.
The Canadian cities and regions currently explorable via Street View on Google Maps are: Vancouver, Whistler, Squamish, Banff, Calgary, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax. Additional cities and regions throughout the country will be added soon.
Jonathan Lister, Head of Google Canada, said, "We're thrilled that Street View on Google Maps is now available for Canada in time for the 2010 Winter Games. Street View has been hugely popular with our users worldwide, and now Canadians and others can see the streets and landmarks of Vancouver, Whistler, and other cities, and innovate in exciting ways. Governments, businesses, and individuals across Canada use Google Maps and Google Earth every day as essential and informative tools: Street View now adds a new dimension."
Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver, added, "We're very excited to be working together with Google to let people from around the world see first hand what an amazing city Vancouver is to visit, work and invest in. And like Google, we're also committed to using open technology standards to increase knowledge, accessibility and innovation in Vancouver. We're thrilled that the world can now look at our city online in Street View on Google Maps."
To view the Street View imagery, simply zoom into the lowest level on Google Maps (maps.google.ca) or drag the orange "Pegman" icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue-lined street. In addition to individuals, Canadian businesses can benefit from Street View by embedding Google Maps directly into their website for free, to help them promote their sites or raise awareness of a local landmark.
Google has gone to great lengths to ensure Canadians' privacy while enabling them to benefit from Street View on Google Maps. The feature only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads and blurs identifiable faces and licence plates. In addition, users can easily flag for removal images that they consider sensitive or inappropriate by clicking on the "Report a problem" link at the bottom of any image. Google has consulted with Canada's federal and provincial Privacy Commissioners in developing Street View and its privacy safeguards.