Hit or Miss - Street View puts Google in the spotlight after complaints over privacy

Privacy outcry Google faced a barrage of negative press after its Street View launched in the UK last week. The mapping service, which provides 360-degree images of 25 cities in the UK, was mainly criticised for invasion of privacy. Within hours of the launch Google had to remove pictures of someone vomiting and a man leaving a sex shop. Lobby group Privacy International formally complained to the Information Commissioner.

HOW I SEE IT - Richard Griffiths, Head of strategic media, Ketchum

There's nothing journalists like more than a story that gets readers or viewers talking. Even if the service itself makes one queasy, in terms of awareness raising and gaining currency by word-of-mouth, the PR campaign has been a hit. Google was quick to grant media access to CEO Eric Schmidt, who directly addressed public concerns with an assurance that anything 'inappropriate' would be removed. Questions continued but a well-prepared CEO showing empathy was an effective way of neutralising critics. This week, the story has moved on yet again with threats of legal action and privacy watchdogs calling for Google to shut down Street View. With the public seemingly divided, the PR challenge is showing a company that continues to listen to its critics.


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