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Google Street View Launches in 25 UK Cities

From the colourful streets of Notting Hill, London to the Corn Exchange in Leeds, taking a virtual stroll through Edinburgh to admiring the architecture of Cambridge’s colleges: innovative street-level imagery of UK will provide new tourism, education, property and business benefits

London, 19th March, 2009 – Google today announced the launch of Street View for 25 cities in the UK, allowing users to view and navigate 360 degree street-level imagery for places including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester, Oxford and many more (full list below).

Street View was first launched in May 2007 and is hugely popular worldwide with imagery available in the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, Italy and from today the UK and Netherlands. It is also available in Google Earth and on Google Maps for Mobile.

In areas where Street View is available, you can access street-level imagery by zooming into the lowest level on Google Maps, or by dragging the orange “Pegman” icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street. You can check out a restaurant before arriving, make travel plans, arrange meeting points, get a helping hand with geography homework, or just explore and get to know your town better.

As well as consumers, UK businesses can also benefit from the Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their site for free, helping them to promote a chain of hotels or increase awareness of a local library or restaurant.

Google’s Geospatial Technologist Ed Parsons commented:

“Salthouse Quay in Liverpool, Belfast City Hall, the Millennium Centre in Cardiff – these are just some of the delights that people up and down the country will now be able to visit, whatever the weather, right from their computer. Street View has been hugely popular with our users in Europe and worldwide and we’re thrilled it’s now available in the UK for so many great cities, enabling users to see street-level panoramas of major city roads and look up and print out useful driving directions. Google Maps & Google Earth have long been popular with British people and are used by governments, businesses and individuals as essential and informative tools every day of the week – Street View now adds a new dimension.”

Google has gone to great lengths to safeguard privacy while allowing all British users to benefit from this feature. Street View only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads and features technology that blurs both faces and licence plates. In addition, any user can easily flag images for removal that he or she considers inappropriate by clicking on “Report a concern”. Google UK has consulted extensively with many privacy and community groups in developing the feature and privacy safeguards.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) supports Google’s approach to provide face blurring and image removal process where individuals request this.

UK partners

Our UK partners Visit Britain, FancyaPint.com, The London Mayor and Tate have selected a gallery of Street View images, available at maps.google.co.uk/streetview that showcase some of the UK’s best tourist attractions and locations to the world. Visit Britain has picked top city-based tourist attractions up and down the country and Tate has applied Street View technology to pinpoint the exact locations depicted in works of art by JMW Turner and John Constable, viewable in conjunction with the paintings.

FancyaPint brings you the best of London pubs and the Greater London Authority has picked out some of the top spots to visit for a fun day out in the capital.

Many other UK organisations have already identified significant opportunities for Street View to be used in travel, tourism, house buying and renting, education and helping to find small businesses. From today, FindaProperty.com will fully integrate Street View on their website. FindaProperty.com is using Street View as a sophisticated way for house-hunters to get to know a new neighbourhood and FancyaPint, also embedding Street View, are using it as a refreshing way to find the perfect pub to enjoy a summer beer.

Where’s Wally?

Hidden within the Street View imagery is a well known children’s story book character – we challenge eagle-eyed users to use their powers of exploration to find him. The official Where’s Wally, in his familiar uniform of blue trousers, red and white striped hat and jumper and walking stick, can be found in just one location in the UK. Wally said, “For a wanderer like me this is a really exciting development, and for all you Wally Watchers, there is a whole new way to find me. Who knows where I might turn up next!”

Google’s launch partners said:

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London,
“London’s unique beauty, splendour and energy is truly illuminated in cyberspace with this superb new tool. It is simply fascinating, even for a Londoner like me to whiz over Westminster Bridge past the Houses of Parliament, soak up the majesty of Regent’s Park, take in the stupendous views from Primrose Hill or simply wander around the streets near where I live. It’s also a hugely practical tool if you’re off to an area of the city you’ve never been to before or are on the hunt for a new home. For visitors to this great city it is surely set to become an indispensable source of information, an essential holiday guide, that will help them to get even more from their stay. It will, I believe, also give them the confidence to go beyond the well-worn path of central London and discover those hidden gems in our outer boroughs. An exciting and welcome outcome for visitors and businesses in London alike.”

Will Gompertz, Director, Tate Media,
“Tate is delighted to be working in partnership with Google. By using this new technology to integrate works from the Tate Collection into Google Street view, we are putting art in a new context, which brings a fresh perspective. This is a great way to get people to look at art differently and to relate it to everyday life.”

Mike Bedingfield, Director of Britain Marketing, VisitBritain,
“We’re thrilled to be working with Google on the launch of Street View in the UK. Google Street View is a real opportunity for Britain to showcase its destinations to millions of internet users around the world. Seeing some of our world-renowned attractions – a mix of old and new – up close, could inspire many more people to visit our shores. Our partnership with Google means that users of Street View can also find information about the different destinations and attractions, as well as value for money experiences on www.visitbritain.com.”

Gordon Butler, Founder of FancyaPint,
“We’re very excited about Street View. When we first started Fancyapint.com in the 1990s, imagery was a key factor in the design of the guide. Pictures not only help visitors make up their own minds about a place, but they also help them to find it when they eventually visit. Google’s Street View takes this idea to a whole new level.”

Chris Boorman, Head of Product Development for FindaProperty.com,
“We are delighted to have Streetview on FindaProperty.com as it offers our visitors a new and unique way to view the location of properties and save time in their search. It’s an amazing tool that will allow our users to see each property and its surroundings and help them get a real feel for the area without having to physically be there. For those who are searching for a new place to call ‘home’, the search just got easier!”

About Google Inc.

Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit www.google.com.

About our partners:

FancyaPint.co.uk

Fancyapint.com is a free online pub guide, providing reviews, ratings, photos, maps, directions, features listings and users’ comments for 3,000 pubs. Fancyapint? covers both the good and the not so good pubs, predominately located in London but now expanding to cover other major UK cities and soon the rest of the UK. Every day around 10,000 thirsty people visit Fancyapint.com looking for the ideal place for a social occasion.

Media contact: Dean Fetzer dean@fancyapint.com 020 7198 7960

FindaProperty.com

FindaProperty.com is a leading property website with a comprehensive search facility for house-hunters to find a home – both sales and rentals. Launched in 1997, FindaProperty.com now publishes the details of over 650,000 properties from over 9,700 agents. FindaProperty.com attracts over 2.7 million visitors together generating over 70 million page impressions.

Media contact: Maud Rousseau MRousseau@ttagroup.co.uk 020 7886 0327

Greater London Authority

The GLA is a unique form of strategic citywide government for London. It is made up of a directly elected Mayor – the Mayor of London – and a separately elected Assembly – the London Assembly. The Mayor is London’s spokesman. He leads the preparation of statutory strategies on transport, spatial development, economic development and the environment. He sets budgets for the GLA, Transport for London, the London Development Agency, the Metropolitan Police and London’s fire services.The Assembly scrutinises the Mayor’s activities, questioning the Mayor about his decisions. The Assembly is also able to investigate other issues of importance to Londoners, publish its findings and recommendations, and make proposals to the Mayor.

Media contact: Leona Daly Leona.daly@london.gov.uk 020 7983 4713 / 07900 606 107

Tate

Tate’s aim is to increase public knowledge, understanding and appreciation of British art from the sixteenth century to the present day and of international modern and contemporary art. The Turner Bequest, left to the nation by the artist following his death in 1851, is the largest and finest collection of his work and comprises hundreds of oils and thousands of watercolours and other works on paper, providing a profound insight into his creative evolution. www.tate.org

Media contact: Selina Jones selina.jones@tate.org.uk 020 7887 8888

Visit Britain

VisitBritain is responsible for promoting Britain as a world class tourist destination and for developing Britain’s visitor economy. It has representatives in 35 countries around the world and has expanded into India, China, throughout Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Every year over 12 million visits are made by international consumers to the 46 websites that make up VisitBritain’s global family of websites, www.visitbritain.com, which together provide information in 26 different languages.

Media contact: Elliott Frisby elliott.frisby@visitbritain.org 020 8563 3035 / 07951 996241

Where’s Wally

Wally is a Popular Children’s Book Character created by British illustrator Martin Handford. The series debuted in UK 1987 and has since been adapted for 28 countries. The books consist of complex full-page illustrated pictures of hundreds of tiny people, the purpose being to locate Wally from among the crowd. He has since sprung up on the web.

Media contact: Nicola Duarte nicola.duarte@entertainmentrights.com 0208 7626 203

Google media contact:

Laura Scott
laurascott@google.com or press-uk@google.com
0207 031 3130 or 0207 031 3049
07782 303 719

Notes to editors:

Street View Facts

Street View in numbers