Friday, July 04, 2008
I'm always sure that a technology has gone mainstream when I get a call from one of my relatives.
I was having a conversation with my uncle today when he mentioned that Google Street View -- a map that has panoramic views of streets taken with cameras mounted on cars -- was getting into some trouble.
Two things struck me:
- His initial thought associated Google Street View with trouble (you better watch what you do when you go outside); and
- He thought it was really, really cool
Welcome to the world we live in. The country is completely up in arms about wiretapping by the federal government, but absolutely cool with a company creating a street-level view of our world.
Which is likely to be more invasive? Both.
Which is likely to be less concerning? Google. The reason: we can all use Google Street View. It's not in the hands of a secretive group like the FBI.
Some of the coolest functions on Street View is that you can virtually tour the United States, checking out landmarks to…well…big ass donuts.
Of course, everything isn't worked out in terms of splicing images together. Privacy advocates made Google brush out faces of people, which leads to some interesting -- invisible man -- shots.
But the panopticon is here. We're recording each other recording each other. We're mapping it, taking our real world and creating a better -- searchable -- version of it.