Google announced on Wednesday that it has launched its Street View service to 11 cities in Canada, including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa, among others.
Google Street View, which originally launched in May 2007, allows users to virtually navigate neighborhoods in 14 countries around the world. When the service first launched, it was only available in five U.S. cities.
Street View has come under some fire since its debut for the service's alleged potential to infringe the privacy of those people found in its images. To address that issue in Canada, Google said in a statement that it "has gone to great lengths to ensure Canadians' privacy."
The company said that all the images in Canada's Street View are already visible from public roads. Identifiable faces and license plates were blurred to ensure no one in the images could be identified. As with its other Street View services, Google's Canadian Street View features a "Report a problem" link, allowing concerned users to request images be taken down.
Whether Google would ever be able to bring Street View to Canada was very much up in the air not too long ago. In September 2007, Canada's Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart wrote to Google saying that she was concerned that the service might violate her country's privacy regulations. She believed that Street View could infringe Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2004.
For its part, Google said in the statement on Wednesday that it "consulted with Canada's federal and provincial Privacy Commissioners in developing Street View and its privacy safeguards." Evidently, that has helped the company bring Street View to the country.