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Germans get the last laugh with 'Google HomeView' [Update]

March 16, 2010 | 12:56 pm

Knock, knock. Google's here.

Streetview There is no getting around the fact that the Internet giant has some image problems in Germany, where its plans to cruise the streets of major cities with a camera have set off privacy alarm bells.

Though Google's "StreetView" is clearly no laughing matter in Europe, Germans are using Google's video-sharing site YouTube for a spoof on Google’s obsession with capturing the world’s images by satellite or by car: “Google HomeView.”

The YouTube video, which is getting play in the U.S. thanks to a plug from Jeff Jarvis after a tip from Wolfgang Stuflesser, is pretty hilarious even if you don’t speak German. Google technicians knock at the door and proceed to photograph the interior of a German couple's home.

Translations from German speakers welcome.

[Update: Ask for a translation and ye shall receive. Big thanks to Kai Raecke, who works as a magazine editor/writer/photographer in Agoura Hills and grew up in Germany.

Google HomeView Man: Hello there! Google Man: We are from Google HomeView and would like to take photos of your apartment. Man: Why ours? GM: Of all the houses here. That’s all being photographed now, for the Internet. Man: Yes, I know. GM: May we come in and have a look around? Man: yes. GM: So, there’s a living room, and a bedroom, and a kitchen, Man: And a bathroom GM: And a bathroom. Man: And a porch. GM: And a porch. If you could casually, maybe the two of you … Man (getting up): What for? Wife (off camera): Excuse me! GM: So it looks a bit more lived in. Man: But nobody knows us! (Standing next to wife) And you’re doing this all over Germany? GM: Yes. Man: Every house? GM: Every house all over Germany, every room, everything is going to be photographed, and everything is going to be on the Internet. Daughter: This means everyone’s going to look at our house from the inside? GM: First from the outside, then from the inside. Would you mind sitting down on the sofa? Daughter: It’s actually a bit inconvenient. GM: Why is that? Daughter: Because we just got home from work; it’s usually a bit cleaner here. GM: Don’t worry. We’ve seen some real pigsties. This is relatively pleasant for us. (Moving into bedroom): All this looks very nice. Daughter: Well, the beds haven’t been made, but OK. GM (Calls other photographer’s name, which is indiscernible): Some photos, of the bedroom. (In the kitchen) You know that because of the data protection regulations, this will have to be partially pixelated. You surely must have read that, when someone doesn’t want to be seen, they can afterwards ask to have their photos pixelated. These are pixel boards. Would you mind holding these in front of your face? Just like that, so it looks like a black bar. Could you repeat your names, please? Wife: Karla. GM: If you have any questions concerning Google or regarding the copyrights, data protection…. We’re showing that you’re not exactly rich here, there’s really nothing worth breaking in for, which is also an advantage. Wife: You have no idea of all the break-ins here. Next house. GM (to couple): You will not take our photos! Woman: I photographed your car. I simply… GM: Stop taking … stop taking our pictures immediately! Woman: If I am being photographed privately I have … GM: Stop photographing us now! Woman: I took a picture of the car! GM: You will not take a picture of us! Woman: (hard to understand because of applause) … we’re only leasing … GM: Well, if you’re not going to play along, we’ll discontinue your Google. Third house, bedroom. GM: So, you also have sex here? Woman: What kind of question…. Does that go on the Internet? GM: That’s Google. Woman: Well, I’m not going to answer that! GM: You don’t want to comment then. Not even with a black bar in front of your face? Woman: No. GM: Good. Then I will leave this open. (Writes) Refuses to answer. Final scene, in front of house. GM: One thing is clear, Germany is ready for Google HomeView, and whatever dirty secrets are hiding behind this window, that you will see next week on Google.]

-- Jessica Guynn