Google Street View cars cleared for fresh start

Street View cars - ready to roll again
Street View cars - ready to roll again

Google has given its Street View cars the green light to continue their mapping project, with the company bringing in independent security experts to make sure there is no repeat of the embarrassing data capture bungle.

Google found itself with a host of unwanted headlines when the German government discovered that the Street View cars had also been collecting data from unsecured Wi-Fi.

After taking its cars out of circulation for a time, the Street View project is now set to re-start, with Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden the next ports of call.

"In May we announced that we had mistakenly included code in our software in Street View cars that collected Wi-Fi payload data," blogged Google Geo VP of engineering Brian McClendon.


"As soon as we discovered our error, we not only stopped collecting Wi-Fi data entirely, but also grounded our fleet of cars globally to give us time to remove the Wi-Fi scanning equipment and discuss what had happened with local regulators," he continued

"The Wi-Fi data collection equipment has been removed from our cars in each country and the independent security experts Stroz Friedberg have approved a protocol to ensure any Wi-Fi-related software is also removed from the cars before they start driving again."

Serious mistake

Google has already apologised profusely for the data collection, and McClendon describes the whole event as a 'serious mistake'.

"We recognize that serious mistakes were made in the collection of Wi-Fi payload data, and we have worked to quickly rectify them," he added

"However we also believe that Street View is a great product for users, whether people want to find a hotel, check out a potential new home or find a restaurant."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.