Imagine if you will: you’re fiddling around on Google and you see this cool new feature called "Street View" which gives you actual, street level images of a particular location. So, you decide to check it out. Personally, it sounded impossible. But lo and behold, when I clicked over to it, there it was.
So far, it’s only available in a handful of cities, among them New York, Miami, Houston, Denver, LA, San Francisco and, yep, you guessed it, San Diego. If you search the maps for these areas, there are highlighted streets where you can go to get this "street view" which virtually puts you on that actual street, looking at the actual places.
Out of curiosity, I put in my home address and sure enough, thanks to living next to one of the nicest parks in our area, there are pics of my place. More disconcerting still, was that if you knew which direction to go and exactly where to look, there was a loverly shot of my very own bedroom window. Yipe.
Now, admittedly, these are not "live" images. They are in fact a series of photos from a video – Google isn’t very specific about the tech behind it – so there are no worries about cameras following your every move, or anything like that. No checking to see who’s cruising where they shouldn’t be – these aren’t high-tech spy cameras, they’re static images.
An article on Webware has an interesting review of it, and Wired had a "Best Urban Images" thing going on (note I said "had"? More on that later.) Mashable had another "Top 15" going on. So there’s definitely some entertainment value here.
We’ve all pretty much gotten used to the satellite images that are available with most mapping sites, and now there’s something new and different.
While I think it’s pretty darn cool, heck, who doesn’t like the idea of being able to get a little virtual tour, or show a friend exactly what a place looks like? I also can see some down sides. Hey, the "good guys" don’t have exclusive Internet rights, y’know.
OK, so call me paranoid. But I can think of a string of reasons why this isn’t such a hot idea.
Paranoid streak aside, it is cool. And it’s kinda fun to take a virtual tour of those cities. My Vegas trip was work, so I really haven’t "explored" Vegas as an adult (don’t count going there eons ago as a kid).
Except for a quick drive through on a very foggy morning while on route home from vacation, I haven’t been to San Francisco in years (that was the trip when the then-hubby had to ASK the attendant what bridge we were on, after I had specifically routed us over the Golden Gate so the kids could tell their teachers they’d been on it – but I digress.)
It’s kind of fun to engage that voyeuristic streak we all have – and besides, I hate driving LA, but it’s fun to look at.
Now, ask me why on earth I didn’t notice this oh, way back when it first started out? Well, I don’t know. I’m on the ‘net constantly, but didn’t see a lot of hoopla over it, and since I don’t routinely do map searches of those other cities, I only noticed it when they added San Diego to their listing.
There are plenty of negative aspects to this, that is true – privacy and security issues come to the forefront for me – but I guess there is the flip side of that coin. This is technology, we are rapidly advancing into a real-life version of "The Jetsons".
Now, I want my flying car, dammit!
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