SWINDON will soon become the latest town in Britain to be the subject of the controversial Google Street View.

Earlier this year, Google announced the launch of Street View for 25 UK cities allowing computer users to view street level imagery of London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, as well as Bristol and Oxford.

And only this week, the Google cameras were out at Stonehenge, filming on board a custom-built off-road tricycle as part of an initiative to film some of Britain’s inaccessible landmarks and sights.

The trike weighs 18 stone and comprises three bicycle wheels, a mounted Street View camera and a box containing image-collecting equipment.

The search giant has already aroused hostility by sending its camera cars to take 360 degree photographs of people’s Roads">roads and putting them on the internet.

The service has attracted criticism from privacy campaigners since its global launch in 2007, particularly in Greece and Japan – and it has been the subject of a court case in the USA.

Launched in the UK last March, Swindon will become the latest town to feature as Google cameras have been prowling the streets of the town in recent weeks.

A spokesman for the company said that Google had gone to great lengths to safeguard privacy, while allowing computer users to benefit from the feature.

“Street View has proved very popular,” explained a Google spokesman.

“It only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads and features technology that blurs both faces and licence plates. “We have made it easier for people to report any concerns they may have. In the UK we have had very few complaints – maybe in the lower four digits.

“Any user can easily flag images for removal that he or she considers inappropriate. Google UK has consulted extensively with many privacy and community groups in developing the feature and privacy safeguards.”

He added: “People have found the site very useful. Say, for example, you’ve been to a restaurant and can’t remember its name, well you can look it up on Street View. It is also helpful when you are looking for high street businesses. I am sure it will prove very popular in Swindon.”

The spokesman said that a couple of Google cars had been filming Swindon in recent weeks. He did not know when the imagery would be released on the internet or how long the filming would last for.

“The filming process takes several months,” he added. “It is dependent on the weather – the optimum weather conditions for capturing Street View imagery are dry and slightly overcast skies, though rain, snow, fog and hail are the worst.

“Sometimes we have to go back because we don’t discover what we have got until it is processed. We will be covering most of Swindon.”

When Street View launched in the UK earlier this year it prompted a flood of complaints, including a furious wife who called in divorce lawyers who spotted her husband's car parked outside another woman's house.

Google were forced to remove some images, including a man leaving a sex shop and an office worker who was having a cigarette by a No Smoking sign.

Despite its detractors, Street View has been used for some imaginative purposes, including one Google employee who proposed to his girlfriend via Street View. Meanwhile Police">Police">Police">police in the US used Street View to find the location of a kidnapped child.