Google Street View UK is up and running

Street View UK seems to be running. A couple of twitters and blogs are saying that it might go down shortly because of some problems with the face blurring software.

I firstfound it this morning have a quick scan of some of the usual blogs i read first thing in the morning while having my coffee.

Lets see if you can find your self or some wierd captures.

street view UK

street view UK

A StreetCar Named Google: Google Street View Scrutinised Over Privacy Laws in UK

Google Cam car
Google Street View, the online mapping website that has angered campaigners for privacy, faces being referred to the Information Commissioner if it is made available in Britain.

The website, which has already caused controversy in America, builds up panoramas of cities using Google camera cars, which photograph life on the streets. The tool, which matches real world photos to mapped locations, has drawn fire from some privacy campaigners.

In America, people have been photographed in potentially tricky positions.

One man appeared to be climbing a fence, while two men in San Francisco appeared to be gazing at a woman as she bent over.

An ambulance driver was seen stopping and eating a sandwich.

In the UK, Privacy International said the tool could breach data protection laws if people’s faces were shown.
Google has said it is using face blurring technology to preserve the privacy of individuals photographed.

“In our view they need a person’s consent if they make use of a person’s face for commercial ends,” Simon Davies, of Privacy International told BBC News.

Street View has already been launched in the US and includes photos of streets in major American cities. Photographing of areas in the UK, including London, is believed to have started last week.

Mr Davies has written to Google asking for details of the face-blurring technology, saying he would ask the UK Information Commissioner to intervene if he did not receive a satisfactory response.

He told BBC News that he was concerned that Google’s technology would not work.
Google’s senior privacy counsel Jane Horvath has responded saying that the technology had already been deployed.

She wrote: “We actually launched this technology publicly in early May, when we refreshed our imagery in Manhattan, New York.

“Since then we have applied face blurring to all new imagery launches in the US, including a major launch in June.”

Google has said it plans to launch Street View in a “few European countries” but did not give any more details.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson added: “We think this type of privacy-enabling technology is the best way of meeting the challenge of continuing to respect people’s expectation of privacy, while not stifling the development of new products and services that everyone can enjoy and benefit from.”

A few photos are starting appear on Flicker from people that have spotted the Google cam car
Here is one such photo i cam accross today. from nwfb on FlickerGoogle Cam car

Quality Score Now Affected by Landing Page Load Time

Quality Score Now Affected by Landing Page Load Time

Google warned us this would happen and beginning today, landing page load times will affect AdWords Quality Score. The reason behind the change is something that Google often touts: it’s what’s best for the user. Google argues that faster load times are better for users, so pages that load faster will be rewarded accordingly.

In May, the AdWords team launched a load time metric to help you evaluate your pages.

And you might be surprised what you can do to improve your load times – and increase your conversions.

Before you do any drastic changes to your pages so they’ll load faster, testing your new page can help you know whether or not your changes will convert.

FirstFound have been using this method from the start as best practice. If you think about it, it’s just common sense isn’t it. A simple solution that FirstFound use is the creation of what is called a Landing page for all their AdWords campaigns. This page is optimised to the individuals’ products so not only do you get a good quality score but they optimise the page for load times and what is called the trigger. What does the client want out of the landing page? A Sale, a phone number or simply to advertise? Whatever the goal is, the page is optimised to maximise all the benefits online advertising has to offer. The only advertising in the world where an advert appears at the exact time the customer is searching for that exact product or service.

Blogger arrests hit record high

More bloggers than ever face arrest for exposing human rights abuses or criticising governments, says a report.

Since 2003, 64 people have been arrested for publishing their views on a blog, says the University of Washington annual report.

In 2007 three times as many people were arrested for blogging about political issues than in 2006, it revealed.

More than half of all the arrests since 2003 have been made in China, Egypt and Iran, said the report.

Jail sentence

Citizens have faced arrest and jail for blogging about many different topics, said the World Information Access (WIA) report.

Arrested bloggers exposed corruption in government, abuse of human rights or suppression of protests. They criticised public policies and took political figures to task.

The report said the rising number of arrests was testament to the “growing” political importance of blogging. It noted that arrests tended to increase during times of “political uncertainty”, such as around general elections or during large scale protests.

Jail time followed arrest for many bloggers, said the report, which found that the average prison sentence for blogging was 15 months. The longest sentence found by the WIA was eight years.

It acknowledged that the true number of bloggers arrested could be far higher than the total it found as, in some cases, it proved hard to verify if an arrest had taken place and on what grounds.

For instance, it said the Committee to Protect Bloggers has published information about 344 people arrested in Burma – many of whom are thought to be be bloggers – but the WIA could not verify all the reports.

It also noted that many nations, perhaps as many as 30, imposed technological restrictions on what people can do online. In nations such as China this made it difficult for people to use a blog as a means of protest.

The report pointed out that it is not just governments in the Middle East and East Asia that have taken steps against those publishing their opinions online. In the last four years, British, French, Canadian and American bloggers have also been arrested.

The report predicted that the number of blogger arrests in 2008 would exceed the 36 seen in 2007 thanks to greater popularity of blogging as a medium, greater enforcement of net restrictions, and elections in China, Pakistan, Iran and the US.

Blog complements of the BBC

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