Germany is Just One Big Blur
Even our current apartment is blurred out
For many tech-savvy travelers, Google Street View is absolutely indispensable. Finding your way around a new city (or even your own for that matter) is much easier if you can step into Street View and look for signs, entrances, parking places… you name it. It’s also a great tool to scope out a neighborhood. In fact, we always use Street View to check out hotel locations before we book them online.
But when it comes to Germany, Street View is rapidly becoming one big blur. Moving around through German neighborhoods in Street View is like walking around with blinders on. Step into a view of Berlin or Munich or Frankfurt and you are likely to find the sexy 360 views blemished with an unending series of blurred-out squares.
Why you ask?
Simply put, Germans are obsessed with privacy. It’s a MAJOR theme here. When Germans discovered that Google was photographing their streets and putting them online, many insisted on the right to remove their properties from public view. Somehow, the fact that such views were not live didn’t seem to matter. Nor did the potential value of being able to use such views to navigate in new areas. The sheer thought of such accessibility drove (or perhaps I should say drives) Germans crazy.
There’s a restaurant in there somewhere.
This trend also creates a rather difficult situation if one person wants a view to remain visible (maybe for business purposes) while their neighbor wants it to be blurred out. I’m pretty sure the privacy advocate wins here.
So what does all this mean for travelers? It means that using Street View to find that restaurant, hotel, or pub is a lot more challenging in Deutschland. Not to mention there is a strong motivation for businesses to blur out what they don’t want you to see. On the plus side, if you just bought a new iPhone 5 and you are bemoaning the loss of your Google Maps App, Germany just might make you feel a little better.