September 9, 2011

A stretch of rural Victoria in Street View is scarred with penis graffiti

Pranksters have been playing tricks on Google's Street View cameras ever since the mapping tool was first launched in 2007, but miscreants in Victoria have delivered a low blow.

Street View images of Long Gully and Maiden Gully near Bendigo in Victoria have been defaced with a giant green penis outline after vandals climbed on top of one of Google's camera-equipped cars and drew the phallus on its camera lens.

The find was first discovered by users on BuzzFeed and has since gone viral across the web. Google Australia has yet to remove the images or make a comment on the matter - and it is not clear who is responsible.

Earlier this year another Street View penis prank was discovered in New Zealand

It follows the June discovery of an array of six penises etched into the grass of a school in Waikato, New Zealand.

Street View has captured everything from marriage proposals to rock stars in bath tubs to canoodlng couples to topless sunbathers to people passed out in the street. Mooning and flipping the bird at Google's all-seeing eye is commonplace, while others have used Street View to create art.

In August last year a nine-year-old girl shocked the world after Street View cameras captured her lying on the pavement of a street in England. Tabloids raced to the story but it turned out she was unharmed.

"I didn't know anything about the Google Street View car [recording me]. I fell over while I was playing with my friend and thought it would be funny to play dead," she told the Daily Mail.

Late last year Google Maps was blamed for Nicaraguan troops invading Cosa Rica and it also sparked a dispute between Morocco and Spain. Street View's launch in Brazil shocked the internet with images of dead bodies, gang arrests, prostitutes and kids doing drugs.

In December, Iran was furious after discovering on Google Maps that the roof of the Iran Air headquarters is adorned with a Star of David. In 2007, the US Navy's headquarters had to be redesigned after aerial Google Maps shots revealed it was built in the shape of a Swastika.

Other top Google Maps discoveries include a clay formation in Canada that looks like a person listening to an iPod, a corn field maze depicting Oprah Winfrey's face and a series of shots showing the Street View car hitting a deer.

In 2009 Dutch police arrested twin brothers on suspicion of robbery after their alleged victim spotted a picture of them following him on Street View.

In October last year Google's Street View cars were pulled from the streets of Australia after the search giant was investigated for slurping Australians' private Wi-Fi network data.

However, Google's cars hit the road again in May this year and in July it updated its Street View imagery of Australia with new higher quality snaps.