Google's Street View cars are back up and running and will be going to town in Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden next week, after Google finally explained its processes to the respective countries' regulators. All of the WiFi collection equipment have been stripped out of all the cars globally, which included all hardware and software.
"Our cars will no longer collect any Wi-Fi information at all, but will continue to collect photos and 3D imagery as they did before," said Google Geo engineering vice president Brian McClendon in the blog post.
More of the backstory and the future of Google's Street View process is after the break.
The Street View cars were shut down after Spanish, German and French officials learned they were collecting WiFi data from unsecured networks around the countries. Google has gone on record to say the 'payload data' collecting was unintentional, even though French authorities learned that Google collected passwords and parts of emails in the process.
Google's Street View 360-degree photos are mainly used to update local business listings in Google Maps, and the 3D images are collected with low-power lasers. McClendon went as far as to state that companies like TeleAtlas and Microsoft Bing's NavTeq use similar technologies to collect the same data.
We recognize that serious mistakes were made in the collection of Wi-Fi payload data and we have worked to quickly rectify them. However, we also believe that Street View is a great product for users. We believe Street View is an incredibly valuable service that has been popular wherever we have launched it.