The images are collected using cameras on cars driven around the areas to be covered. Google's software then stitches the photos together to provide continuous views of the streets
Every time Street View arrives in a new country, there's a fresh wave of reports of objections to certain images, often because they show someone in a bad light.
Examples of UK images Google has been asked to withdraw include individuals vomiting, being in the immediate vicinity of sex shops, and being arrested.
There has even been a report that Google's cameras snapped a young child playing naked in public view.
Although Google has an automated system that obscures faces and car registration plates, it can still be possible to recognise individuals or vehicles - and that could lead to embarrassment.
You'd be pretty unlucky to be 'caught' given the one-off nature of the original survey, but when Google photographs an area containing say ten million inhabitants, even very low odds translate to a several unfortunate outcomes.
Google also provides a mechanism for people to request the removal of images that show their homes or are otherwise of concern.
A number of people have already taken advantage of this 'opt out' facility. Perhaps the highest-profile example of a residence being removed from Street View in the UK is that of former prime minister Tony Blair.
But where does the idea come from that what is visible from the street is private? Given the extensive use of surveillance cameras in the UK, you might have expected residents to take a more relaxed attitude towards Street View.
But perhaps their awareness of being on camera as they go about their daily business has made them more sensitive to what some see as commercial intrusion into their remaining privacy.