Friday, June 20, 2008

Cool yet Creepy too

Being the geek that I am I think the internet is really cool. Since I spend my days designing systems that will bring the internet to your house faster and faster I hope that everybody thinks that the internet is really cool too. Occasionally I will find a new feature or program that is both really, really kewl and yet more than a little creepy. Case in point is Google's new feature street view. The brains at the Googleplex have paid people to drive cars around major metro areas and take 360 degree pictures and record the GPS location of each picture. They then integrated this info into their Google.maps program. Now you can pick any spot on the road and get a 360 degree view of the road as if you were standing at the curb. Pretty cool huh. Much of my work involves driving to a site to look at our facilities to very minor details, like how far away is that pole from the driveway? or is there enough room on that pole for another piece of equipment? I was eagerly awaiting google's roll out of this feature in the Atlanta area. It has already saved me a few hours of travel time to verify these types of details.
Now for the creepy side of the story. Take a look at this picture. Just for giggles I decided to check my on house to see what the picture showed. Apparently my 5-year-old waited patently to cross the street when our road was photographed. I don't think there is anything at all sinister about what happened. She just was there when the picture was taken. Still, some stranger drove down my street, took a picture of my 5-year-old, and then posted it on the internet with a link to her approximate address.
Apparently, I'm not the only one bothered by this. I don't think they broke any laws. And I'm not going to demand that the picture be removed. As her father I just got a little bit of a knee jerk reaction when I saw it. Since the initial roll out google has made an effort to obscure faces and they will eventually remove all people from the images. I'm just going to take this as another opportunity to review with the kids our rules about strangers.


  1. My initial response when seeing this image was, "Hey, there's Eve!" Then you have to think about all the nutcase whack jobs out there and hope they'll stay in their darkened rooms and away from the kids. Great post!

  2. Like so many things in life the internet is both a blessing and a curse. We have to be so careful because there are so many weirdos. I am so glad you discovered this.

  3. Canisunis3:41 PM

    That is a little Freaky... We go through all this effort to make sure our kids dont give away that kind of info to "strangers" and Poof all the strangers have it.

  4. Just a quick follow up on this. I asked Google to remove the image and it was deleted within the hour.