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Google Street View launches in New Zealand


Google Street View launches in New Zealand

Online street-level imagery to help New Zealanders travel, shop, and learn


Auckland, New Zealand, 2 December 2008 Google today announces the launch of Street View on Google Maps in New Zealand: maps.google.co.nz/streetview. Street View is a new feature for Google Maps that lets internet users view and navigate 360 degree street-level imagery of New Zealand's cities, towns, regions and remote areas.


Dragging the yellow Street View pegman onto any point on a public road shown in Google Maps will bring up an image of the surroundings from a street-level vantage point, letting people check out a restaurant before arriving, arrange meeting points, save time at open houses on Saturday mornings, or just explore parts of New Zealand they haven't visited before.

More than 100 metropolitan areas in six other countries around the world are presently visible in Street View, which first launched in the United States in May 2007.

Andrew Foster, Product Manager for Google Australia and New Zealand, says, “New Zealand has some of the most scenic and remote roads in the world, and now anyone from around the country or the world will be able to appreciate them online.

“As well as viewing images of major metropolitan areas like Auckland and Christchurch, people will be able to take a virtual drive along Scenic Drive to Piha Beach west of Auckland, or along the spectacular Crown Range road between Wanaka and Queenstown.

“New Zealanders will find 101 practical uses for Street View too, from checking out a summer holiday home before booking it, to finding a shop for a Christmas shopping expedition, to conducting research for a school project.”

Tourism New Zealand has selected a gallery of Street View images, available at maps.google.co.nz/streetview that showcase some of New Zealand's best tourist attractions and locations to the world. Many other organisations have already identified significant opportunities for Street View to be used in travel, tourism, house buying and renting, education, and helping make small businesses easier to find.


Mr Foster says that New Zealanders are increasingly using Google Maps to help them plan trips and find businesses in their neighbourhoods, and share information with friends and family.

“As well as using it to get directions, we're seeing New Zealanders use Google Maps in a range of interesting ways, from companies integrating it with their websites, to enthusiasts using it to create personalised maps related to their areas of interest. We expect the Street View imagery to encourage even more New Zealanders to explore their surroundings and plan their activities online.”

Google has gone to great lengths to safeguard privacy while allowing all New Zealanders to benefit from this feature. Street View only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads, and blurs identifiable faces. Anyone can easily flag for removal images that they consider inappropriate by clicking on “Report a concern” at the bottom of the Street View image in question.

The Street View imagery was collected by camera-equipped cars that drove public roads in New Zealand over the past 12 months.

Thoughts on Street View:

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand

Mike Elford, National President

“Street View is an additional tool to help New Zealanders looking to buy or rent property. It provides the opportunity for buyers and renters to make preliminary checks about local facilities and amenities which may be important factors in their decision making. Real estate agents will welcome the opportunity to incorporate Street View with their own websites as an additional resource for consumers.”

Tourism New Zealand

George Hickton, Chief Executive

“We know that the more visitors research their holiday before they come, the more enjoyable experience they have. Street View is a new way of giving potential visitors the opportunity to get a sense of what New Zealand offers before they get here. We know that many of our visitors are great internet users and this virtual tour should make visitors step off the beaten track and explore even more of New Zealand's remote and beautiful spots.”

New Zealand Board of Geography Teachers

Annette Lanigan, Chair

“New Zealand teachers are increasingly harnessing technology and online applications to bring classroom lessons to life. Many schools and universities already use Google Earth to help students explore the world; Google Street View will allow Kiwi students to study the geography, vegetation and landscape of different parts of the country, from the beautiful beaches of Northland to the Southern Alps – areas of New Zealand that they might never see otherwise. This will be a welcome addition to the classroom and a useful tool for students of all ages.”

-ends-


About Google Inc.

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit www.google.com.

ends


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