Google Street View overlooks Walla Walla's Main Street

Main Street was included in M-F and Athena, and College Avenue is shown in College Place.


WALLA WALLA — Heralded by many as the wave of the future when it comes to viewing cities online, but criticized by others as an invasion of privacy, Google Street View has made it to Walla Walla.

But it missed Main Street.

Google Street View is a free online image viewing service that provides navigable images of popular cities, which are captured by a roving car with camera mounted on top.

Cities that can be viewed on Google Street View include New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and now Walla Walla — just not Main Street Walla Walla.

Elio Agostini of the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation said he preferred not to focus on the negative about the oversight.

"I think it is good that they did Walla Walla. That is wonderful," Agostini said.

But the executive director of the organization whose goal is economic development, including tourism development, was also quick to point out that Main Street, Walla Walla, received the Great American Main Street Award in 2001. He hoped the exclusion of the heart of downtown would be a temporary oversight.

"We are looking forward to them doing Main Street," he said.

Main Street in Milton-Freewater made the list of included streets, as did Main Street in Athena. In College Place, College Avenue was included.

In Walla Walla, photographed streets now viewable online include Rose Street, Isaacs Avenue, Pine Street, 13th Avenue, Ninth Avenue and several others.

Google Street View not only includes views of businesses on both sides of the street, but houses, people, pets and anything else that happens to be captured by the roving cameras, which has caused some controversy.

In Japan, Google Street View was challenged because the car-top mounted cameras were high enough to provide views over residential fences into private yards. And the depicting of identifiable images and license plates has also caused controversy in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada.

It is uncertain when Walla Walla was first placed on the service. A volunteer for the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation said he noticed the service had included Walla Walla about two months ago.

Representatives from Google could not be reached on Saturday.


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