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Thursday December 15, 2011 4:51 am

Google takes down Shoot View, the Street View shooting game


Gamers are not averse to first-person shooters—Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, for example, earned $1 billion in just over two weeks. But what about when the targets are real, unsuspecting people on the sidewalks rather than cartoon soldiers?

That's the approach taken by Amsterdam-based ad agency Pool Worldwide, which used Google's Street View API to create "Google Shoot View," a game that lets players take aim at those who appear in the street-level, 360-degree images captured by Google's Street View cars.

"Google Shoot View. Explore the world at street-level... and fire a M4A1 assault rifle," Pool Worldwide said in a Dec. 9 tweet announcing the game (preview below).

Google was apparently not thrilled by the idea of having its technology used as the backdrop for a street-level killing spree. The search giant this week pulled Pool's access to its API—the code that allows developers to use the technology.

"Unfortunately, Google has killed the API so at the mo we can't run shoot view," Pool tweeted yesterday.


Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but according to Pool, the game was rejected "because of terms of use issues."

Pool did not specify the terms of which it was in violation, but Google's terms of service for its Maps and Google Earth API includes a ban on the promotion of "physical harm or injury against any group or individual," among other things.

According to MSNBC, the images on Google Shoot View did not react to being shot; no "bullet holes or bloody corpses that are common in some of today's most popular shooter titles."

When asked about the origins of the game, Nick Schonfeld with Pool's creative team said "we are all big gaming fans, especially of first-person shooters."

"We always thought that Google Street View would make an awesome game map (the biggest in the world) and so when one of us mentioned the idea to turn Google Street View into Shoot View we jumped on it and made it," Schonfeld continued.

The game was an "entirely independent effort" and not related to any of the firm's clients, Schonfeld said. The company said it only intended to entertain people. "We had no idea that it would explode in the way it did."

Creative director Erwin Kleinjan, meanwhile, told Business Insider that it attracted about 3,000 visitors per minute at peak times over the weekend and crashed the company's Web server.

Despite that initial success, there are no plans to revive it in another form. "There will not be a follow up. We've gotten everything out of Street View that we can," Schonfeld said.

Google Street View deploys cars equipped with special cameras throughout the world to capture street-level images that are added to Google Maps. Given that the vehicles drive through highly populated cities, the cameras often catch unsuspecting passersby, though their faces (and license plates) are blurred.

The idea of shooting an assault rifle at people who actually exist might seem a bit distasteful in general, but its debut also came one day after the fatal (and unfortunately, second) shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech here in the United States. Yesterday, a man also attacked the Belgian city of Liege with guns and grenades, killing at least five and injuring 130, CNN said.

What do you think? Is Google Shoot View in poor taste or is it just another violent video game to add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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