We might not be allowed to get up close and personal with Stonehenge (due to people ‘chipping’ away at it for years taking souvenirs) but Google sure has. Google’s Street View cars, that have been driving around the world photographing every street deemed significant enough (except outside my house), have now been swapped for bikes so Google can go off-road and start taking pictures of landmarks.
The first landmark on Google’s hit list was Stonehenge, as the Google employee below demonstrates in what has to be the coolest bike in the world. Google got on its bike at Stonehenge last week, spending an hour cycling around the monument.
Now he’s off to the Angle of the North, Hadrian’s Wall and Loch Ness (presumably though he won’t be cycling there).
Rather than have to sneak past security, Google had the full backing of English Heritage, who protect monuments such as Stonehenge. English Heritage’s Stuart Maughan stated:
Stonehenge was first on the list and they have now mapped it from both inside and outside the stones
We don’t yet know when it will go live but there were a lot of interested tourists when the tricycles were pedalling around.
It will give everyone a chance to look at the stones, so people who haven’t been before see how fantastic they are and perhaps come and visit one day.
It’s amazing that anyone from anywhere in the world can access it because everyone has heard of Stonehenge but not everyone has a chance to visit.
Users of the website Visit Britain voted in a poll on which landmarks they wanted Google to photograph, and Wiltshire’s Stonehenge came top.
However, the Google cycles could now spark even more debate over the use of cameras to photograph the UK. Lib Dem MP Tom Brake is very concerned about Google’s use of photography on the streets of Britain.
Off-road, Google must show even greater respect for privacy than on the street.
If they don’t they may capture more than they bargained for as they pedal silently along our remotest lanes and cycleways.
He needn’t worry though, Google blurs the faces of any people caught on camera and also covers the number plates of any cars, so if Google catches any MPs where they shouldn’t be their identity will be safe!