US software giant Google said  it had removed several images from its Street View software, which allows web surfers to view parts of 25 British cities, after users raised privacy concerns.

Street View displays 360-degree ground-level images captured by roaming cars using digital photography equipment.

The cars began taking images last summer, and continue to capture images across the country, allowing the service to expand after its launch here on Thursday.

Google said it had removed several pictures, including ones that users found embarrassing, such as one of a man leaving a sex shop in central London’s Soho neighbourhood, or another one of a man vomiting outside a pub in the east of the British capital.

A spokeswoman for the American Internet company declined to confirm the precise number of photos that were removed, but said it had been “less than expected.”

Individual Internet users who do not want either their image or that of their home to be used in Street View can request it be taken off Google’s database by filling out an online form.

Google says it has developed sophisticated software that ensures that individual’s faces and vehicle license plates are blurred.

After initially being launched in the United States in May 2007, Street View is now available in Britain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

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