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Germans can Opt Out of Google Street View

But a vast majority don't. Out of more than 8 millions German households photographed by Google only 240,000 have said they would like their homes blurred out in Street View. That less than 3 percent, a Google spokesperson told the New York Times.

"This shows that 97 percent of German households have no problem with Street View. We have gone out of our way to make sure everyone's concerns have been addressed."

But I am not sure this numbers says anything about Germans feelings about personal privacy or Google's Street View project. However, these numbers do seem to say a lot about the difference between an easy opt out, and opt out designed to be difficult.

Initially, opting out of Street View in was a pain. Germans who wanted to remove images of their homes from Street View had to had to submit a request in writing. That's right Google wanted letters.

Then a few months ago the company relented and created an online tool making opting out easier. Ultimately, two thirds of the opt-outs came in online. Imagine if you had to opt in to Street View instead of opt out. I wonder how many Germans would have written a letter to Google or clicked an online tool asking to have their homes appear in Street View? I bet is is less than 240,000, but we will never know.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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