U.S. News

CNBC's Francis: Google's 'Street View' Raises Privacy Concerns


A new feature on Google Maps called Street View is raising concerns about privacy, reports CNBC's Melissa Francis.

Street View provides a 360-degree, street level view of sites from New York's Radio City Music Hall to the Las Vegas strip, along with just about any other address in those and three major cities, Francis said.

While the satellite feature on Google Maps provides users with a birds-eye view of roof tops, Street View users can see the color of a front door on a New York apartment building. And while slightly grainy, you can even zoom up to a window.

Google took the pictures using cameras in vans, Francis reports. And they've apparently caught people in compromising positions, such as a man breaking into a building and another strolling out of a strip club.

Google on Your Street

"Now you can see much more than just a map of a location you're searching," Francis said. "And some people are already saying 'too much more.'"

Google told CNBC that they take privacy issues seriously and would remove photos if people complain.

This is the second time this week that Google has addressed privacy issues. On Wednesday, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said that U.S. regulatory approval of his company's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will not be hindered by concerns over privacy.

"We're quite convinced that the proposed merger meets all of the appropriate U.S. laws and is ultimately very good for consumers and for advertisers and publishers," Schmidt said at a news conference.

Google , the world's No. 1 Internet search engine company, announced its plan to buy New York-based DoubleClick last month in a $3.1 billion acquisition that privacy advocates have urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

Google dominates the text-based online advertising market while DoubleClick is the leading provider of graphical display ads, Levin said. Several consumer advocacy groups, led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, urged the FTC to investigate the privacy implications of the acquisition.

The groups said in their April 20 complaint that the two companies, when combined, would have access to an unprecedented amount of data on consumers' Web usage and Internet search habits.