HONG KONG, 15 MARCH 2010 - Google launched Friday (12 MARCH) its Google Maps Street View feature for Hong Kong and southern areas of Macau.
The firm has launched the feature earlier in different parts of globe including Asia Pacific such as some locations in Japan and Taiwan.
Part of Google Maps, Street View is a service that allows users to experience 360-degree street-level views and more map and street imagery through real photographs, said Google.
All users have to do is visit the Hong Kong version of Google Maps and drag the orange Pegman in the upper-left corner of the map to the desired street location to access the Street View image, said Google.
By moving the mouse or the navigation button found in the upper-left corner, users can look around or search 360-degree panoramas of street views, zoom or expand pictures and even move forward, backward or drag the Street View button to the location they would like to see, the company added.
"The demand from users around the world for map information on Hong Kong and Macau is growing exponentially. Since its launch in 2008, the number of Google Maps users in Hong Kong has grown by 300 percent," said Lee-Feng Chien, Engineering Director, Research and Development Center, Google Taiwan and Hong Kong. "When they search for map information on Hong Kong and Macau, users mostly use the traditional Chinese version of Google Maps Hong Kong, followed by the English version and then the simplified Chinese version."
Google Maps already provides Street View services in over 200 cities around the world, including countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, according to the company in a statement.
Google's Street View car has driven a total of 7,912 km in Hong Kong, the equivalent of crossing the Tsing Ma Bridge 3,663 times or the Pearl River Delta Bridge 150 times, said Google, adding that the car covered 1,293 km in Macau, the same as routing the Guia Circuit a full 208 times.
Users can access Street View via computers or mobile phones that support Google Maps, said Google, adding that in Hong Kong and Macau Google Street View covers a variety of travel destinations including Hong Kong's Legislative Council Building, HSBC's headquarters and the Central Police Station Compound, as well as Macau's Largo do Senado, Chapel of St. Francis Xavier and Templo de A-Má.
Google Street View raises privacy concerns
The Street View feature has raised privacy concerns in various countries since its launch.
The European Union, which earlier this year revealed that it is investigating antitrust accusations against Google, has asked Google to make some changes to the way it gathers and retains data for Street View Maps.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.