The remarkable sites and history of Greece are now captured in Google Street View images, following several years of opposition from the Greek government due to privacy concerns.
The first-time images of the spectacular beauty of Greece via Street View were announced by Dionisis Kolokotsas, the public policy and government relations manager for the project in Athens, in a June 18 post on the Google Europe Blog.
"Greece is home to many of the world's great cultural and historical monuments and remarkable landscapes, making it a natural for Street View, which allows web users to take panoramic real-life virtual tours of public roads," wrote Kolokotsas. "That's why we're particularly excited to announce the launch of the path-breaking service this month, making Greece the 56th country added to Street View. From now on unique Greek landmarks, such as the Corfu Old Town, the White Tower in Thessaloniki and the Arch of Hadrian in the center of Athens, will be vividly represented on our computer screens."
Google has brought together a sample collection of the beautiful images in Greece through its Greece Views Gallery, including the Old Town section of Corfu, the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, the port in Mykonos, the White Tower of Thessaloniki and the Acropolis Museum.
"Many Greeks long have been keen for us to bring its benefits to their country, seeing Street View as a powerful tool for the promotion of a country," wrote Kolokotsas. "Visitors now will be able to check their hotel in advance and preview places they want to visit. Street View benefits everyone from the wheelchair user who can check whether a building has a ramp to the elderly who may check whether there are sufficient parking spots before leaving home. Minister of Culture and Sports Panos Panagiotopoulos welcomed Street View in Greece as nothing less than 'a gift from God.'"
The Street View images include hotels, tourist places, points of history and cultural importance, and more.
"As always, we've built privacy safeguards into Street View—we blur people's faces and vehicle license plates automatically—and if anyone sees a need for additional blurring, they can let us know by clicking on 'Report a problem' in the bottom left corner of the screen," wrote Kolokotsas.
Privacy issues such as these were the key stumbling block for capturing the Street View images in the past. "We're excited to be launching our first Greek imagery, but our journey is far from finished—we are already planning to [again drive the Street View cameras around Greece] and refresh the Greek imagery" in the future.
Google's Street View program is always growing with new images and destinations that bring amazing places to online viewers.