Google camera car captures Felixstowe

GOOGLE'S special photographic car has been spotted in Felixstowe - taking the pictures that will beam the town across the world.

GOOGLE'S special photographic car has been spotted in Felixstowe - taking the pictures that will beam the town across the world.

Some people did a double-take when they saw the car with its roof-mounted four-way camera, and for some it was a triple-take as they had their photos taken several times as the vehicle passed up and down each street.

But it is likely to be several months yet before anyone sees the images on the new Google Street View internet site.

The service has already caused quite a stir with people amazed at the at the eye-level 360-degree photographs already on view, allowing people to wander around 25 major towns and cities on-line from the comfort of their living room.

The Google car, which has already visited Ipswich, was seen in Felixstowe earlier this week.

One woman said: “I was cycling down Westmorland Road and it overtook me taking photos, and then a few minutes later passed me again in Western Avenue - I can't wait to see what goes on line.”

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One teenager said he and a friend had been photographed at least three times as they walked along.

A spokesman for Google said it was likely to be several months before the images were on the Street View site.

“It is a very complex process and there is a lot of work involved,” he said.

“We started taking the images in the other towns and cities last July and they only went on-line a few weeks ago, so those we are taking now will take a while to appear.

“We drive the streets and take thousands of photos and sometimes have to go back and re-drive them if the light was not quite right.

“The images then have to be processed and integrated and then got ready to upload on to the site.”

While Google has received plaudits for its latest initiative, privacy campaigners have criticised the technology, claiming it is too intrusive and could be used as a reconnaissance tool by burglars and terrorists.

Is Google Street View too intrusive? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Google Street View

Hidden within the Street View imagery is well known children's story book character Where's Wally - and people are challenged to spot him.

London has been the most difficult place to drive for Street View because of its one-way streets, no parking areas and high buildings.

Best weather conditions for the photography are dry and slightly overcast skies - rain, snow, fog and hail are the worst.

Street View uses state of the art face detection technology to blur faces.

Tens of millions of photographs have been taken worldwide.

25 cities and 22,369 miles of road in the UK are currently covered. Nine countries are covered so far.