Backlash on “Street View” is great publicity for Google Maps

Google maps has a new “Street View” that shows a street-level view of a location. It currently has panoramic views of miles of streets around San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Miami and Denver.

These pictures were taken in real-life, so people that were nearby when the camera was passing by are also captured in the photo (pictures are static and are not updated usually). Some of these pictures are damning (see below photo of a man entering an Adult Book Store)

Google Maps Street Views


Naturally, this feature has drawn the ire of some people. Thomas Claburn talks about a recent New York Times article that describes how a “Google map service can zoom in so closely on buildings that it has caused Ms. Kalin-Casey and others to complain to the company and on blogs.” Ms. Kalin-Casey’s complaint is “The issue that I have ultimately is about where you draw the line between taking public photos and zooming in on people’s lives,” and goes onto mention “The next step might be seeing books on my shelf.” Well, if the books on her shelf could be photographed, they could very well be seen by passers by!

Wait until we have Live Street View, featuring real-time video feeds. People can then spy on others (e.g. spouse, celebrities) right from the desktop and without the others’ knowledge. Combine this with facial recognition technology and we just may have a lot of social issues to deal with.

What better way to get free publicity than this controversy!