Google launches 'Camel View' in United Arab Emirates

08/10/14

Most of us have seen one of these at some point...

Google Street View car

But you've probably never seen one of these...

Camel wearing Google Street View camera

Yep, that's right. Google Street View has evolved into "Camel Cam".

The trial in the United Arab Emirates' Liwa Desert has made it possible for each and every one of us to carry out a virtual tour of those sandy dunes from the comfort of our own homes.

The company says using using camels meant they could take "authentic imagery" with minimal disruption to the environment.

Street View now covers parts of around 230 countries.

But the project's had its fair share of controversies since it started in 2007.

Google Street View of Newsbeat HQ (we're on the top floor)
Image caption Google Street View of Newsbeat HQ (we're on the top floor...hi)

When it launched in the UK, many people were appalled at what they saw as an invasion of their privacy by a Big Brother American business.

In the village of Broughton, near Milton Keynes, residents chased a Street View car away and accused Google of trying to peer through their windows.

In Germany, the reaction was much stronger, with entire streets blanked out as residents rebelled against the idea.

The company responded by saying "it's not like we are driving in one place at one time, it's not like a camera is pointing at you all the time".

In 2010 it also came out that some of the cars had been collecting data from unsecured wi-fi networks and that some emails and passwords were accidentally downloaded.

The company apologised and promised to learn from what had happened.

But at least one thing Google can rely on this time, surely there won't be any such complaints in the desert.

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