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Google Uses Tricycles To Take Pictures Of UK Tourist Hotspots

Google has unveiled a fleet of manned tricycles as its latest secret weapon in a bid to capture pictures of landmarks and hot spots for its controversial Street View service.

Tricycles have apparently been chosen because of their stability, ruggedness and because they can access places that are inaccessible to four-wheel vehicles.

Obviously, the fact that it is human-powered only serves to boost Google's green credential as well as reduce costs associated to fuel consumption.

Google will be partnering with Visit Britain, Britain's national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide.

The public will also be able to vote on which landmarks they want to be photographed. Five categories have been identified Castles, Coastal paths, Natural Wonders, Historic Buildings & Monuments and (Sports) Stadiums.

This means that Google could even end up scanning every millimeter of famous football stadiums like Old Trafford or Anfield road if given the permission.

If the current trials, which are being held in Genoa, Italy, prove to be successful, Google is likely to include all public sites including landmarks and paths in the UK.

Google Street view has been a hit with online users. More people are using Google Maps than Google News according to research website Alexa and a significant portion of them have used Google Street View.

But it has attracted a number of criticisms from privacy groups, notably Privacy International, which complained from the onset to the Information Commissioner's Office about the service.

The service has been outlawed in Greece and driven out illico presto from a British village before being cleared of any wrongdoing by the ICO.

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Our Comments

Street view is here to stay, which shows to some extent, the power of the search engine company. But, the company better be careful, it is unlikely that the Tricycles face the same level of apathy from the general public given the fact that the service has been widely publicized.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.