In order to celebrate Independence Day the Google Maps Street View icon has been changed to what appears to be a little Uncle Sam. As Google Maps Mania reader Etlund points out in the comments below he appears to be walking backwards (from independence to being a UK colony again we presume)
Google Maps Street View in France (and a tiny bit of Italy) has certainly brightened up my week. However the rest of Europe may have to wait some time for Street View to appear. Well they will if all the Street View car drivers are as keen to win a Darwin Award as the driver who took this image:
Now what possible reason could anyone have to close a mountain road at 2000 metres? I know - let's drive on and see:
Ah avalanches! That looks fun let's drive on.
What happened to the road?
If trying to kill themselves wasn't bad enough Google also seem to be suggesting that you take the quick route down from this mountain:
Or perhaps Google are providing hang-gliding directions now.
If you want some more fun try the game at placeSpotting. The game involves trying to find a location on a Google Map. The game creators contacted us today to say they now have 100,000 users and over 6000 quizzes.
On a more serious note. Privacy International has done an outstanding job of stealing Google's publicity for the launch of Street View in France.
Simon Davis of the group has sent a letter to Google threatening to ask the UK Information Commissioner to suspend the deployment of Street View in the UK. A lot of websites are reproducing this quote by Simon Davis, talking to the BBC,
"In our view they need a person's consent if they make use of a person's face for commercial ends."
I wonder if Google have ever thought about introducing face blurring technology? Oh, wait they have.
You can read the full-text of Davis' letter reprinted by the BBC here. Having read the letter it seems that Privacy International's main concern seems to be with Google's face blurring technology - but I'm a little unclear what their problem with it is.
Anyway the net result is that Google's launch of Street View in France has hardly been reported whilst Privacy International have raised their profile no end.