In a rare admission that their mapping service is more voyeurism than cartography, Google has announced that select residents in Germany will have the opportunity to have their homes blocked from the company's street-view service. The opt-out function will be available to residents in 20 German cities until Sept. 15. For the uninitiated, street-view archives detailed shots of your local cityscape -- properties, street signs, rooftop sunbathers -- and provides them free of charge. (Here's a translated link to the service.) The notion that one can now block their property from public scrutiny has major implications for the way we increasingly search for real estate. Could this decision lead to more judicious uses of public real estate photos? While the option has only been announced for Germany, the line between homeowner privacy and buyer interest seems increasingly blurred. Why, for example, wouldn't a homeowner also object to their home being listed on a broker's website after the purchase date? We're keeping a close eye on you, Germany -- you and your pixilated high-rises.
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