Last January 28, Google announced the launch of the Google Street View in the Philippines. It is available on Google Maps and Google Earth application wherein you can switch into an actual street view rather than a birds-eye view of your desired location.

Google Street View has been in the US since 2007 and expanded to 50 different countries. This new feature of Google is made possible through its partnership with the Philippine Department of Tourism.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said the Google Street View is about bringing an experience to potential tourist. Jimenez said that this project “will allow (Filipinos) to create a digital experience of our landscapes, which we hope will entice more people around the world to learn about our diverse offerings and visit our country.”

Google is deploying Street View cars to be able to capture a 360 view of Metro Manila. The specially designed Google Street View cars are equipped with cameras that can capture a panoramic shot of a certain location. The first cars were deployed last Tuesday afternoon and the images will be available in Street View at a “later date,” said Ryan Morales, Google Country Marketing Manager.

As of today, Google Street View offers the panoramic shots of four Intramuros sites namely, the San Agustin Church, the Baluarte de San Diego, the Plaza San Luis Complex and the Fort Santiago. The images of the said Intramuros sites were shot by Street View Trekker volunteers with cameras mounted on their backpacks. To view Intramuros in Stree View option, simply go to Google Maps and click on the yellow man icon at the bottom right hand side of the page then click on the areas highlighted with color blue.

Google Street View, however, has a dilemma in terms of privacy. Critics says the images captured by Google’s new project in the Philippines invades people’s privacy. In defense, Google Philippines stated that Google Maps has a technology that blurs human faces and license plates of vehicles captured from Street View images.