An interesting article by the BBC’s Berlin correspondent on Germany’s problem with Street View.
The article suggests part of the reason why Germany seems to have such a problem accepting a service that is used in many other developed countries is a cultural distrust of the new, and an inability to innovate. The article quotes Prof Nicolas Apostolopoulos from the Centre for Digital Systems at the Free University in Berlin,
“..people in Britain or the United States tend to see the possibilities of new technology, while Germans tend to see the dangers.”
I’m not convinced this is the case completely, just look at the thriving geo-community in Berlin, and the love of OpenStreetMap in Germany, German cities in OpenStreetMap contain the most detailed mapping you are likely to see anywhere, and that mapping has been contributed by the same people who don’t want pictures of their buildings to appear online ?
An alternative view is that Street View has become a political football in Germany to a greater extent than any other country, and politicians and the media have jumped on the issue, as a way of getting noticed and filling column inches. Google bashing seems to be a popular activity amongst the chattering classes in Berlin..
I really don’t agree with the view that there is “a downside to innovation”, tell that to the manufacturing industry in the UK. Clearly not all new ideas or products will work, indeed most will fail, but to try and stop innovation is like trying to ignore gravity!
The voice that seems under represented so far are the potential users of street view in Germany..
Written and submitted from the Google Offices, London (51.495N, 0.146W)