Google has admitted it accidentally captured entire emails and passwords from wireless networks in people’s homes when it was collecting images for its controversial Street View service.

The search engine first said in May it had mistakenly collected private information when its Street View cars were gathering up panoramic images, but said at the time the data was only “fragmentary” because the cars were moving.

However after investigations by “a number” of external regulators, Google admitted some whole emails, passwords and web addresses had also been picked up.

“We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and I would like to apologize again for the fact that we collected it in the first place,” Alan Eustace, vice president of engineering and research at Google, said in a blog post. “We are mortified by what happened.”

The California-based company will now improve its privacy controls, after a series of complaints from nations including Germany and Canada...