Google Street View only shows what is already publicly available; you could go visit every place on it yourself if you wanted to. The service just makes it easier by aggregating an image of every street from multiple sides so that you can see it from the comfort of your own home. That being said, Google is being attacked for it by privacy groups in various parts of the world, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt certainly isn't helping. Most recently, he claims that one reason why Street View isn't so bad is because you could "just move," inaccurately claiming that the Street View cars only visit every place once.
Of course, Street View doesn't (yet?) indicate where you live, so moving wouldn't solve the problem anyway. There are plenty of reasonable ways to respond to a privacy question about Street View, but Schmidt chooses to joke around instead. Check out the video below:
All Things Digital made a list of Schmidt's most recent tone-deaf responses to privacy questions which should help put this latest one in perspective:
- Addressed criticisms of Google's stance on privacy by saying, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
- Claimed people want Google to "tell them what they should be doing next."
- Said of Google, "We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about."
- Said this: "One day we had a conversation where we figured we could just try to predict the stock market. And then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that."
- Suggested name changes to protect adults from the Web's record of their youthful indiscretions.
- Said this: "What we're really doing is building an augmented version of humanity, building computers to help humans do the things they don't do well better."
Schmidt was probably making a poor joke about Street View. If this was the first time, we would call it a slip up, but the man's history shows otherwise. The CEO for the largest Internet company needs to start taking privacy seriously or we'll start to lose faith in Google.