Caught unawares on Google

Rainbows on the Luas, cars crashed into rocks, awards for the shabbiest estates and a man with his head apparently on fire are just some of the images you can expect to see on a new website dedicated to the weirdest and wackiest on Google's Irish Street View.

Set up after the service was launched last week, the website shows some of the strangest sights captured by the SV van as it travelled around the country.

The images depict scenes such as a man relieving himself on the side of the road, a dog creating a traffic jam on a rural road, and multiple pictures of men "mooning" the SV van.

The website also features a running "photo series" such as Ireland's worst estate, garda patrols, and competitions to name Irish celebrities' homes.

Google has moved to reassure the public about privacy concerns and said it has received a "low" number of requests to remove images. The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner said it received approximately 30 inquiries from the public about how to remove an image.

"We have received many queries in relation to the service and we continue to provide guidance for members of the public seeking assistance in using Google's removal tool. If any issues were to arise regarding Google's responses to such requests, we would take up such concerns with Google immediately," said a spokesman for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

Google said the launch has been a huge success with a 50% increase in map usage.

"The number of removal requests has been incredibly low. We always expect more requests in the first few days, as people check out images and decide if they want them removed or let us know if we've missed a face or registration plate. On the day after launch we saw a 50% increase in maps usage, demonstrating the popularity and excitement around this new imagery," said a Google spokeswoman. is now calling for more odd submissions from eagle-eyed members of the public.

The mapping service has come in for criticism over not including some areas known to be disadvantaged, such as parts of Limerick associated with gangland activity, including estates in Moyross and St Mary's Park. Google said the failure to cover certain areas was for "operational reasons only."

Google started collecting photographs in 2009 and has mapped over 80,000km of road around Ireland.