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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:

• Google to launch “Street View” in Germany despite criticism

BERLIN – Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) will introduce its "Street View" mapping feature for 20 of Germany’s largest cities before the end of the year, the company announced Tuesday, launching a new debate over privacy in Germany.

German officials have been one of the harshest critics of the "Street View" program, which provides detailed photographs of neighborhoods taken by Google cameras.

At the insistence of authorities, the faces of individuals and licenses plates will be blurred. People can also ask to have images of their homes removed from the database starting next week – a move aimed at dispelling privacy fears.

"This tool available before the launch of the service is unique to Germany," Google Inc. spokeswoman Lena Wagner said Tuesday, adding the company hopes to launch maps of the 20 cities in November, then expand the service.

The cities will include Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne, among others.

But privacy watchdogs remain critical as the announcement comes on short notice, in the middle of summer holidays, with residents only able to ask for their house to be removed for a four-week window.

"Street View" has been controversial in Germany, South Korea and other countries amid fears that people – filmed without their consent – could be seen on the panoramic footage doing things they didn’t want to be seen doing or in places where they didn’t want to be seen.

The U.S. Internet giant lost the trust of many in Europe this spring when it had to acknowledge that the technology used by its "Street View" cars had also vacuumed up fragments of people’s online activities broadcast over public Wi-Fi networks for the past four years.

Police official Ahn Chang-soo said a cyber crime unit is investigating Google Korea for possibly violating South Korean communications and privacy laws. Police confiscated computers and hard drives for analysis and that company officials will soon be summoned.

• South Korean police raid Google over Street View service

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korean police investigators raided Google’s Seoul offices on Tuesday on suspicion the Internet search company was illegally gathering personal information for its street mapping service.

Police official Ahn Chang-soo says a cybercrime unit is investigating Google Korea for possibly violating South Korean communications and privacy laws with Street View, a map service that includes photographs of streets taken by Google cameras.

Ahn said police confiscated computers and hard drives for analysis and that company officials will soon be summoned.

The service has been controversial in Germany and other countries because of concerns the recording invades personal privacy

• Saudi Arabia won’t stop BlackBerry service

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications regulator on Tuesday said it would allow BlackBerry messaging services to continue in the kingdom, citing “positive developments” with the device’s Canadian manufacturer.

The Communications and Information Technology Commission’s announcement staves off, at least for now, a potential ban of Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry Messenger service in the country — a step which officials had said was possible because of national security concerns.

It was not immediately clear whether the decision was just a temporary reprieve, or whether the threat to ban the service was off the table.

Saudi’s announcement of the possible ban — which came shortly after officials in the United Arab Emirates announced a more sweeping crackdown on the devices due to start in October — was read by many analysts as a reflection of the conservative governments’ concerns over an inability to access user data.

Yahoo, Google prevail in patent case

NEW YORK – Yahoo Inc. said it is pleased with a jury verdict that found it did not infringe a patent held by Bright Response LLC.

A U.S. District Court jury in Texas found that Yahoo and Google Inc. did not infringe Bright Response’s patent covering the routing of electronic messages such as e-mail or search queries, according to court documents filed Monday.

The jury found that neither Google’s AdWords or Yahoo’s sponsored search technology infringes on the patent because it was in public use before Bright Response filed for patent protection.