Google Launches Street View Service for Slovenia


 

The service was launched in Slovenia six months after the company began photographing the country with its fleet of camera-equipped cars, focusing mostly on cities and major tourist sites.

Street View program manager Ulf Spitzer said that given Slovenia's small size, the imaging process did not take long, although he admitted that not all places were captured.

The service is expected to be upgraded later with imagery from Slovenian ski resorts as well as from some of the halls of the presidential palace in Ljubljana.

The service offered by the US giant was hailed by Education Minister Jernej Pikalo, who said that it was an important tool also for educational purposes. "It is one thing if a teacher tells you something, but another if he can show it to you in an interactive way," Pikalo said.

Slovenia believes street view has important value for tourism purposes, head of the tourism department at the SPIRIT tourism and investment promotion agency Karmen Novarlič told the press.

A better web presence can only help increase the number of tourists of Slovenia, said Novarlič, who added that it was also important that Slovenia finds ways of tapping into the tool as part of reaching out to tourists.

Slovenia's Digital Champion Aleš Spetič meanwhile lamented how long it took to introduce the service for Slovenia. He said that Slovenia must strive to ensure that, come the next Google tool, it is among the first countries to be included.

The imaging of Slovenian streets was delayed by more than two years due to privacy concerns raised by the country's information commissioner.

The main sticking point between the company and Information Commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar was where the raw images of its recordings would be processed.

The service has been the subject of privacy debates in other European countries.

Paving the way to the service in Slovenia was deal was struck early last year between Google and Slovenia's information commissioner, as part of which Google accepted a broad set of safeguards, from clear public announcements to blurring of faces and license plates.