Smile… you’re on Google Street View

15 Jun

frankenstein_villagers488Victoria BC, finally joined the brotherhood of locations that have been mapped by the fleet of Google Street View cars. Whether you see this as auspicious, or unfortunate depends on your definition of privacy. read about the reaction in Japan

Personally, until Google starts employing airport full-body x-rays to photograph the inside of my home, I don’t have a problem with pictures taken on public property. So when the Street View car circled my block last week, I gave an amiable wave from my front yard and resisted the whimsical desire to star in my own viral spot and chase the car down the street waving a pitchfork, Angry Villager from Frankenstein style.

Shortly afterward, I glanced at the scattered garden tools, patches of dead grass and kids toys in my yard, and regretted not having cleaned up a bit.

I then thought back to our preparations to move to Canada two years ago. While looking for rental accommodation I used Google’s satellite pictures to evaluate rental areas: How much greenery, proximity to parks, how much traffic. On a macro level then, the information contained in Street View has a surprising value. Users can preview holiday accommodation, find meeting spots, explore neighbourhoods, judge entertainment venues, investigate properties for sale.

If Google offered a paid service to retake pictures of storefronts post renovation, homes after fitting a new roof, hotels after an obscuring vehicle has moved. Would you be interested? What would that service be worth?

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