Google brings Jerusalem, Israel to virtual tourist

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JERUSALEM (AP) ? Google’s Street View will soon provide virtual visitors a glimpse of the narrow stone-paved alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City and other tourist destinations in Israel.

Google deploys cameras mounted on cars and other vehicles to take Street View’s 360-degree images, which users of the Web site can then view by zooming in on any given point on a map.

Outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls on Monday, Google Israel’s managing director Meir Brand announced that filming will begin in the next few months in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and tourist attractions elsewhere.

“For the first time we can truly say Israel is on the digital map,” Brand said.

Israel was concerned that the detailed photos could help terrorists plan attacks. Last month Israel announced that it had reached an agreement with Google on security and legal issues related to the project.

In addition to security concerns its not clear how some of the diverse religious groups in Jerusalem and Israel will react to being filmed.

“Our desire is to bring all of Jerusalem to Google Street View,” Brand said. “We want to cover as many areas as we can.”

Israel is the first country in the region to allow the service around its cities. Google also offers the service in Iraq’s National Museum in Baghdad.