Google’s admitted that nearly three percent of German households have opted to have their houses blurred on Street View in the run-up to the German launch.
The opt-out period – unique to Germany, which has been more stridently opposed to the service than most countries – has now closed. And of a total of 8,458,084 households in the areas scanned so far, Google received 244,237 opt-outs, or 2.89 percent of households.
This could be seen as a remarkably high figure considering that internet penetration in the country is only 79 percent, according to the International Telecommunications Union.
There must be plenty of Germans, therefore, who have barely heard of Street View – which hasn’t yet been launched in the country, remember – and plenty more who are unhappy about their house being featured but don’t know how to opt out.
In any case, the company is warning that many of those who have requested an opt-out won’t get it.
“We’ve worked very hard to keep the numbers as low as possible but in any system like this there will be mistakes,” says German Street View product manager Andreas Turk.
“For instance, some people asked us to blur their house, but didn’t give us the precise location. In such cases the household can still ask us to blur the image using the ‘report a problem’ tool on Street View once imagery is published – and we’ll do it as fast as we can.”
The same, he says, is true of faces and car licence plates that the company’s automatic blurring technology may have missed.
Google isn’t saying exactly when the service will launch, simply that it’s ‘very close’ to launching in the country’s 20 biggest cities.