Google Street View goes live in Australia, Japan

Attention virtual tourists: Australia and Japan now are visible through Google Maps' Street View service. Bonus: a Street View Easter egg.

Street View, the driver's-eye view on Google Maps, made its debut in the United States, but it's now available in Australia and Japan, too.

Sydney, Australia now can be explored with Google Maps' Street View, shown with blue lines where available. (Click to enlarge.)
Sydney, Australia now can be explored with Google Maps' Street View, shown with blue lines where available. (Click to enlarge.) Google

The Street View service has raised privacy hackles in some quarters, but it's helped me navigate in areas I've never visited: What does the house I'm visiting look like? Or the street corner where I'm supposed to get off the bus? Or where exactly is that big-box retailer?

Google also is extending Street View to Europe, and in the process is gathering data that will let it create 3D models as well.

To alleviate privacy concerns, Google blurs faces in Street View.

Update 3:30 p.m. PDT: The Google Lat-Long blog said the Japan imagery covers Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and other cities in Japan, while Australia gets Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, and others.

Extra bonus: There's also a Street View Easter egg that Google apparently tucked into the service--a photo of what appears to be a gaggle of Street-View-loving Googlers.

(Via Google Blogoscoped.)
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