How It Works

Google maps Antarctica; penguins’ privacy compromised

Google has launched its Street View service in Brazil, Ireland and Antarctica, completing its mapping of every corner of the Earth. The news comes at a time when Google is under increased scrutiny from certain parties relating to privacy issues. Since its launch of Street View in 2007, Google has been subjected to a series of legal complaints from civilians and governments, the most notable being Germany.

Penguins at Half Moon Bay, Antarctica

Ed Parsons, Google’s geospatial technologist, seemed unconcerned however, saying that:

“In many ways new tech is always a little concerning to people. Like caller ID on [mobile] phones – that was concerning when it was a new thing, now it’s accepted and agreed to be a useful feature. You have to draw a contrast between how many people use and the minority that are relatively loud. For us, it’s about enhancing the use of Google Maps and we know that that increases by 20% at least when Street View functionality is added, making it the most popular web-mapping site on the planet.”

Point Wild on Elephant Island, Antarctica, marked by a statue that shows where part of Ernest Shackleton's crew were stranded during their expedition of 1916

Luckily for Google, though, it seems that – at least in the short-term – its Antarctica mapping will not be challenged legally, with a spokesman from the Concerned Penguins of Antarctica lobby group declining to comment.