Google Street View is coming to Germany in the next few weeks, but nearly 3 percent of homes will be blurred, the company said today.
Since April 2009, Germans have been able to petition the search company to have their homes blurred in Street View images, Google said in today's blog post. Initially, those folks were required to send a written letter to Google. But Google recently launched an online tool that allows Germans to ask to have their homes blurred.
Street View, which is a feature of Google Maps, offers panoramic photographs from the street level.
Out of the 8.4 million homes in German's 20 largest cities that are included in Street View, 2.89 percent of households, or about 244,240, opted out. However, Google said that removing images is a "complex" process, and when the service launches, some of those households will still be visible. In those cases, homeowners can request that Google blur the image of their home using the service's "report a problem" tool.
Google is providing the blurring option at the behest of German privacy officials. The search company said that it "worked closely with Data Protection Authorities to ensure all the right German privacy standards were met."
Privacy has long been a concern for Germany. Earlier this year, the country squared off with Google when it was revealed that the search company inadvertently collected payload data and Mac address data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks with its Street View cars.
German privacy officials also targeted Facebook earlier this year over the social network's handling of member information.