Google has set its sights on Quicksee, looking to add an interactive, virtual tour type of feature to its controversial Google Street View service, according to a report in the Israeli publication Haaretz.com. Google is willing to pony up $10 million for the startup, which has raised $3.5 million to date from investors, according to the report.
Google (GOOG) has faced a firestorm of controversy over its Street View service, with a number of government officials and agencies looking into potential privacy violations. Just last month, South Korean officials raided Google's offices there in search of user information that may have been collected illegally.
Other countries investigating Google's Street View service for potential privacy violations include Spain, France, Australia, and Germany, as well as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. And in addition to the FTC, the Connecticut Attorney General is conducting an investigation.
These across-the-globe investigations were kicked off after Germany pressed Google for detailed information on how it processed and collected photos for its Street View service. While delving into the data to provide to German officials, Google discovered it had been inadvertently collecting snippets of user information sent over public WiFi networks.
While some of the investigations center on the acquisition of user data by Google Street View cars roaming the roads, German residents are also concerned about images of their homes potentially being on display for anyone with an Internet connection to see.
If a Google-Quicksee deal goes through, and interactive virtual tours are added to Street View's photo mix, that may give Germans even greater cause for concern.