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Google Street View, bring back the vomiting Brit

Google Street View launches in the U.K., and one of the first images to talk about was that of a man who appeared to be vacating his entrails on the sidewalk. After protests, it is removed.

When you arrive in a foreign country, it is best to note the customs, and accept and appreciate them as much as you can.

That is why Google, which launched its Street View voyeur site in the United Kingdom this week, seems to have misunderstood the locals.

Naturally, many strange images, captured by Google's kind and thoughtful camera car drivers, have been spotted by a rapt British public.

Two cyclists crashing into each other. Naked sunbathers. Many of you are used to the fun by now.

But the image that seems to have upset people the most is the one of the gentleman who, fatigued by his drinking exertions, has projected his indigestion onto the sidewalk.

Yes, people complained. But in the United Kingdom, it takes only 30 people to complain for the papers to create a national outcry. There are so many newspapers there, and Brits are really quite good at reading.

Often, the many pints of lager on an English night out are accompanied by the traditional late-night meal. CC Tim Parkinson

This is just one of the reasons why Google has clearly overreacted by taking the image down.

Vomiting onto the sidewalk is something of a national sport in the United Kingdom. It is as much as right of passage as a rite of passage.

You are really not a man or, these days, a woman, if you have not, at least once, released your inner feelings onto concrete--and then stood up for your right to do it again tomorrow night.

To remove this valuable symbol of national vibrancy is surely an unfortunate decision.

Would Google remove images of the French seated at cafes, smoking and considering the work of Michel Houellebecq (or Michael Thomas, as he once was)? Of course not. Would it remove images of Russian men with gold chains and their sweet, affectionate nieces in the south of Spain? Hardly.

So to trash an image of a hearty Englishman and his solicitous friend is surely rather insensitive.

I hope that Google reconsiders this affront to a fine European nation. (Well, not totally European, but almost.)