Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eye In The Sky, and The Street

Google launched Street on their Maps today. From the standpoint of ambition and technical expertise it's an impressive update to their Maps offering. From the standpoint of privacy I find it a bit troubling. There are people in these shots however and I'm sure they didn't sign releases. In regards to buildings there is nothing invasive about someone shooting the outside of a house or other building -- it is after all, just a building and as a structure is in the public domain -- per se. It is strange, however, to see your parent's house in great detail on a site that they neither use, nor necessarily want to be a part of (does anyone really want to have their house up there?).

Google has not yet added my street but the satellite images of the Quarter Acre are very recent. We had the house painted in July of 2007 and the new color is in the overhead shot, as is my red car. Heat and drought savaged the front lawn starting in the same month, and that's also visible. These keys make it possible for me to guess, within a very narrow window, when this shot was taken.

I don't mind the aerial shots, they are relatively impersonal. The street level shots are disconcerting. Not only are "They" watching from above, "They" are driving around with cameras and photographing our front doors.

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