Google to add Thailand to Street View

September 2nd, 2011 - 3:13 pm ICT by BNO News  

BANGKOK (BNO NEWS) — Google and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have announced plans to introduce Google Street View to Thailand in the next few years. It will include special areas such as tourist attractions.

Google Street View, which provides panoramic views at street level, is currently available in more than 30 countries around the world, including several countries in Asia such as Singapore. Plans are also underway to introduce the service in other countries.

TAT said cars equipped with special cameras have already taken to the streets of Bangkok after which the images will soon be added to Google Street View. The agency estimated it could take two to three years to cover most parts of Thailand.

Google Street View has repeatedly raised privacy issues when the service was added in new countries, but Google said it is committed to protect privacy and comply with all local laws. Google will blur faces of people and license plates to avoid identification, and people will be able to submit complaints if they believe photos are violating people’s privacy or violating the law.

“Google is excited for the amazing pictures which are waiting to be discovered from the country,” Google wrote on its Thai blog, adding that some tourist attractions in Thailand will also be mapped on Street View. This was previously also done for the Colosseum in Rome and tourist attractions such as Sea Life in England.

A number of people in Thailand have already reported seeing the Google cars. “I think I saw one of these vehicles driving around Phuket within the past month,” user ozymandious wrote on Thaivisa.com. “It was a large Toyota van of sorts with cameras mounted everywhere. I saw it around the airport at the time.”

TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni welcomed Google’s decision to add Thailand to its service. “I believe the Internet is a powerful platform which can help boost Thailand’s tourism as well as the success of Google Maps with Street View in the long run,” Svetasreni said.

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