If you post publicly viewable pictures containing location information on your Google+ account, you may have gotten a Google+ notification that some of your pictures were chosen to be shown in Google Views and Maps. The announcement of Views was made rather quietly through a Google+ post in the Google Maps Views community. Views is a new photo sharing site that lets people view photos from all over the world by either typing in a place in the ‘Explore’ search box or by clicking on a section on a map. Images can be either static photos or Street View-style 360° photo spheres that can be created with either Android or iOS devices or a DSLR camera with photo stitching software. You can also contribute photos to Views by manually adding them to the site and including location information if they are not already associated with a location.
In addition to Views, Google may select your photos to appear in Google Maps. According to the Google Map Views help page, pictures that are chosen for maps are interesting, high quality pictures that gives a sense of place and typically do not contain people as to keep the focus on the location. Pictures taken from non-touristy locations with fewer submissions will have a better chance of being selected for inclusion in Google Maps.
Of course almost immediately there were questions of privacy; what if you don’t want your pictures on Views and/or Maps? To remove a picture from these Google services you have three options. You can delete the photo(s) from your Google+ account, hide the location data for the album, or remove public access to the album. Refer to the ‘Manage your photos on Views’ section of the Google Map Views help page for step by step directions on how to do this. If you don’t want to share any future photos that you upload to Google+ with Views and Maps, make sure that the ‘Show geo location information on newly uploaded photos and videos’ is unchecked in your Google+ settings.
So what do you think about sharing your pictures on these services? If Google already added your pictures, were you freaked out about it or did you feel honored that Google selected your photos? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below, on the Geek Beat forums, or on your favorite social media site.