After more than 3 years since the collaboration between Tourism Malaysia and Google, Google Street View has (finally) reached Malaysia! This has been a long project in the making in Malaysia from the start of the collaboration in September 3, 2011, to rolling out the Street View vehicles in Kuala Lumpur on the 28th of August, 2013.
They’ve finally done it! Google Street View is now available in West Malaysia including, but not limited to, Kuala Lumpur, Klang Valley, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Ipoh, Penang, Kedah, Perlis, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Malacca, and Johor. Actually, you can pretty much find anywhere you want in Semenanjung Malaysia now, with users in forums excitedly looking for their own homes through the application (available for both desktop and mobile users). It’s not available in Sabah and Sarawak yet, though a quick check on where the “Where is Street View”’s search engine showed us that it’s currently in Kuching, Sarawak! And well, Kemaman, Terengganu.
What Is Street View?
Street View is a immensely useful technology available in Google Maps that allows users to plan their trip in detail by accessing the panoramic views as seen from the streets. Users experience a visual walkthrough via Google Street View with the panoramic views before actually leaving the comforts of their homes. This technology is perfect for map-illiterate and direction-less people (like yours truly).
Street View was first launched in May, 2007 in the United States and have managed to map up to 5 million miles of roads in over 50 countries.
The image shows the Google Street View Coverage. The dark blue in the image indicates countries with mostly full coverage while the lighter blue indicates partial coverage. The orange shaded countries have official plans for coverage and the brown stands for unofficial coverage planned. Countries like China and Egypt only have selected businesses and tourist attractions available on Google Street View.
Issues Regarding Google Street View
It has, however, got into some trouble with privacy laws in different countries over the years. In fact, it was banned for a while in Australia in 2010 following accusations of Google collecting and storing payload date from unencrypted Wi-Fi connections. Google has stopped taking street images altogether in India following a letter from local authorities in 2011.
Concerns continue to arise regarding the amount of detail the street view coverage has managed to obtain. However, hopefully this will not become an issue in Malaysia. According to Sajith Sivanandan last year in The Malay Mail Online, Google has learned its lesson after the issues from 2010. He further added that measures have been implemented to ensure the issues shall not arise again. In addition, extra caution will be taken when collecting data in Malaysia.
If you do have any concerns regarding your home (or your face!) being featured in Google Street View, you may send a request to Google via the “report a problem” tool at the bottom right corner of Google Maps and wait for them to process it and have it removed or blurred.
How Does Street View Work?
Simply type in the destination you have in mind (Midvalley shown in the image) and choose the “Street View” option!
Then, just hover over the picture you see and you’ll be able to enjoy views of the location from different point of views! It’s pretty neat! So much so that we took the liberty of checking out Sunway Lagoon.
Clicking on the image will bring you forward to the location you’ve clicked on the road, much like if you’re driving there yourself!
Being from Kuching, Sarawak, I can’t wait for Street View to be available here!