OMG! I've been ogled by Google! Well, not me precisely. But my car, which might as well be my second home.
For the first time recently, I tried out Google's new, controversial "Street View" service - which I warn you, is yet another Internet time drain. I was doing this while listening to a debate on NPR's Talk of the Nation over whether or not Google's new mapping technology bordered on invasion of privacy.
Street View allows computer users to type in an address and zoom into a street level view of that address. At this point, Google Street View only covers five metropolitan areas. But in those areas, you use arrow keys to travel up and down nearly any street you request, make 360-degree turns, and zoom in further to see people, houses, apartments, street signs, whatever....including cars.
I had read several articles about Street View, including this one in The NYTimes where an Oakland woman admits she got a bit shaken when she Street Viewed her own house, and saw her cat sitting in the window. Regardless, I wasn't too worried about Google peaking into my life, until yesterday
Out of curiosity, I first Street Viewed my address and discovered that Google's mappers hadn't snapped still shots of my street yet - whew! Then I tried my children's school - and that's when my heart leaped.
There, parked at the bus stop alongside the school, was my van. How do I know it was mine? I zoomed into the license plate and confirmed it. Then I checked in my car's windows. We weren't in there. So I panned over to the school entrance and playground to see if I could see me or my kids. Thank goodness, no.
And that's when I started to feel a bit queasy about Street View and its capabilities. What if Google's picture snappers had captured us in the car or on the sidewalk? It's not me I worry about - it's the kids. Sure, the images are static and not live web-cams. But really --- how far off do you think that is? And face it, it's more than a little creepy knowing that some strangers driving by were just seconds or minutes away from catching the kids and I on camera.
Privacy concerns over Google Street View are flying around the Internet, driven by people like me who frankly, feel a little violated by having our houses, streets, cars, schools and families available for anybody to see on the Internet.
Am I over-reacting? Maybe. But wait until it happens to you. I've love to see the look on your face - which I just might be able to do right here from the laptop in my kitchen. See....a little scary isn't it?
What do you think of Google's new Street View service? Invasion of privacy, or great new web tool? Click below on "Comments" and tell us what you're thinking.
There's a somebody I'm longing to see
I hope that he turns out to be
someone who'll watch over me....