Google Streetview Arrives in Cambridge

Thursday, March 19th, 2009. 1:59am

Google’s Streetview service began covering Cambridge as of the 18th of March 2009. The pictures appear to have been taken in the late summer of 2008. The guildhall clock says twenty-five past eight and given the number of people around I think it must be a Sunday morning. The relatively empty Cambridge is quite a contrast to Edinburgh where most of the photos have been taken during the festival.

One of the things it is possible to do is appreciate some of the trees which have been recently cut down in the city:

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Do comment if you can find anything interesting going on in Cambridge which has been captured by Google.

12 comments/updates on “Google Streetview Arrives in Cambridge

  1. John Lawton

    Google have undertaken to ‘smear’ people’s faces to make them undecognisable, but I am on three pictures in Maid’s Causeway, and am fairly recognisable. Still, in my view it is a brilliant resource, and I am much more worried over the government ‘database state’ then this.

  2. Chris Humphris

    I suppose this is just the same as driving round in a car – but how about (out of town) thieves sizing up potentially prosperous areas? It’s the thought that anyone in the world can drive round my town and nose round.
    A snoopers’ dream come true.

  3. Richard Article author

    A set of photos from Thompson’s lane in Cambridge has (as of the time of writing) been removed from Google streetview:

    View Larger Map

    This photo set would I believe have included a view of the garden of the old vicarage. I have taken my own photo of what is missing:
    Garden of the Old Vicarage in Thompson's Lane Cambridge

    I wonder what may have been going on in that garden which prompted a request to Google for the removal of the image. Tree felling is one possibility or perhaps the owners are simply trying to keep their hidden gem of a house and garden out of the public eye.

    In an arrangement coming to an end this month the garden is leased to the owners of the house from the church for £5/year.

    The house is currently for sale for £925,000.

  4. Chris Humphris

    Richard – you are in danger of losing your credibility. Is it jealousy or naivety that drives you to support this intrusion into people’s lives or question their desire for privacy?
    Your previous topics have led to genuine discussion but this, I fear, is a step too far.

  5. Richard Article author

    I do not see a problem with taking photographs of anything which occurs in public, or can be seen from a public road. (With a few exceptions as laid down in law).

    I am very concerned about the erosion of this freedom to take photographs in public places, both through the overzealous actions of the police acting on their own “initiative” to stop people photographing antisocial behaviour or things like motorways, busses and trains. I am very concerned about the counter terrorism act 2008 which makes it illegal to photograph a police officer, this would, if obeyed and enforced, prevent both media organisations and individuals reporting on instances when the police behave inappropriately.

    We don’t know what happened with respect to the old vicarage photo, we don’t know anyone asked it to be removed. Photographs from similar angles can be seen via the link to the details of the house for sale, the only difference being on those a major tree is still in-situ.

    Downing Street has been removed from Google Streetview, perhaps following a request from a resident. I think it would be a positive thing if in response more people took photographs of the omitted scene and posted them online to show that ridiculous censorship cannot work, and in-fact often has the effect of giving more attention to something which would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

  6. Chris Humphris

    I do not object to the right to photograph – what I object to is the publication worldwide of unauthorised photographs for commercial purposes – there is no altruistic motive in Google’s latest product.

  7. Chris Humphris

    We will have to agree to differ!

    News reporting is one thing but I do not think that you can compare Google Streetview with news copy……..

  8. John Lawton

    Chris wrote “I do not object to the right to photograph – what I object to is the publication worldwide of unauthorised photographs for commercial purposes – there is no altruistic motive in Google’s latest product.”

    Authorised? By whom? That’s the whole point, you shouldn’t need authorisation to take photographs.

  9. Richard Article author

    Interestingly the blacked out Thompson’s lane image has now been replaced with a new photograph, taken slightly closer to Bridge Street than the one which was removed.

    I preferred the blacked out version – at least then you can see what’s being censored!

  10. Richard Taylor Article author

    The property removed from Google Streetview, the Old Vicarage, on Thompson’s Lane, Cambridge is currently for sale for £2m

    Now images of what it’s like inside are published on the internet!

    The description states: “Francis Crick, one of the Cambridge scientists who discovered the “double helix” shape of DNA who lived on the top floor in the 1950′s”.

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