After much speculation, Google's street view has come to Canada. Alas it's finally live.
Users are able to see everything from the camera's vantage point of a street, including store fronts, sidewalk, people, cars, etc. Although street view first came to Canada just recently, in March 2009 as a joint effort between British Columbia-based Canpages.ca and San Francisco-based MapJack, Google’s street view is more well known. Debates circulated about Canada's privacy policies and how street view could be in violation of those policies. However, Google's automatic blurring technology ensures that individuals and license plates can't be identified.
In addition, a request form is available to resolve privacy advocate concerns or if you want objectionable images to be removed. Many Internet enthusiasts, myself included, are eager to see if their image made it online from the time they had spotted Google's camera car on the street.
A few months ago I had tweeted about the Google camera car I had spotted on my way to work. Despite all the fancy features, I find MapQuest's directions to be much more efficient than Google's. MapQuest suggests directions that are the shortest distance to a destination versus Google's sometimes roundabout route.
The street view feature is mostly used by those who want to get familiar with an area. It's popular among Real Estate agents, home buyers, walkers, vacationers and others curious about various neighborhoods. There has already been talk of advertising capabilities on street view, but this is yet to be implemented. According to Google Maps Mania, the new cities include Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec, Toronto and Vancouver.