Cross posted from Der Google Produkt-Kompass

Since April 2009, people in Germany have been able to ask for their house to be blurred on Street View ahead of the product being launched. At first they could ‘opt-out’ by writing us a letter and a few months ago we launched a special online tool to make the process easier. We worked closely with the Data Protection Authorities to ensure all the right German privacy standards were met.

We’re now close to launching Street View imagery for the 20 biggest cities in Germany and we’ve counted the number of households in those cities which decided to opt-out. Out of a total of 8,458,084 households we received 244,237 opt-outs, which equals 2.89% of households. Two out of three opt-ots came through our online tool.

Given how complex the process is, there will be some houses that people asked us to blur that will be visible when we launch the imagery in a few weeks time. We’ve worked very hard to keep the numbers as low as possible but in any system like this there will be mistakes. 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 is true of faces and car licence plates that our automatic blurring technology may have missed.

It won’t be long before you’ll be able to look at some of the most beautiful images of Germany using Street View. We’ve got a couple of nice surprises as well. We’ll be back with more news soon!