Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Google Street View - Is it a facade? (Pardon the pun :-))

Googled your house in Google Street View yet? And your parents' house? And the house where you grew up? Then all your friends' houses?

What next?

It all depends what kind of mind you have, doesn't it. For example, if you suspected your partner of infidelity with your best friend you might take a little peek at her house, just to check if his car appeared in the shot. If you were a cat burglar you might check out a whole street to plan a night of stealthy entry to houses well shielded by bushes.

Nifty little application, isn't it - with no end of uses. But is it a case of Big Brother watching us?

The internet is buzzing with tales of individuals captured on film in places they shouldn't be, or doing things they shouldn't do - the neighbour basking topless by the pool, young men leering at a shapely miss behind her back, or emerging from an sex shop, or urinating in the street.

I find it fascinating that I can pinpoint almost the exact date that the Google car cruised my street by looking at the church notice board and certain activities going on nearby, and I can clearly see a friend of mine industriously sweeping leaves on the path.

While it's fun and novel right now, I just wonder whether Google Street View has the potential to be used for more nefarious purposes. Is it another gift for identity thieves? Could it be more sinister than it appears?

What do you think?

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