This is incredibly addictive, probably even more so than Google Earth was for me when it first came out. These folks have frozen a moment in time of life on the streets in these five cities, and the ability to view that moment from multiple perspectives is very compelling.
Collections of "sightings" have popped up quickly. The first I came across was David Sterry’s, who left a comment and link to his site on one of my previous entries. Wired has also created a blog for Street View sightings and submissions, as has LaudonTech. The submissions range from famous views to the mundane, such as tennis shoes thrown over power lines. There are also submissions for Google glitches, where people have been decapitated where two images were stitched together, or cars have been foreshortened, etc.
As the folks at Google drove their van through the streets, they captured everything, including catching some people unaware. About as quickly as the program came online, someone found images of bikini clad coeds sunning themselves at Stanford. Someone has also posted a link to someone’s thong showing as she (he?) was getting into a car. Some of these are not as benign as simple voyeurism, though. Images have been posted of people supposedly entering or leaving strip joints and adult book stores, with full facial recognition. Talk about being caught in the act!
Most of the places that make it into these collections are in San Francisco, which appears to have the highest level of detail and resolution. In addition to facial recognition, one can clearly read license plate numbers on passing cars. Combine this with views of people getting caught in the act, and it won’t be long before discussions of safety and lawsuits arise. The dude in front of the strip joint may have just parked in front of it on the street. There is no evidence that he had entered. However, all of these images are of people in public places, and are fair game.
Google has a statement on their Steet View Help menu that they are concerned about inappropriate images, and they have a submission form if something is spotted that is not correct. Someone had posted a link to a Street View image of a crime scene, and that was removed. However, vestiges of the bust can still be seen in a building reflection on the other side of the street. There are other supposed sightings of drug deals, etc., but these are less obvious.
Of course, the prurient is what seems to catch everyone’s attention. Despite the fact that there is so much else to see, I’m sure I’m going to get a request from some teacher to block this because of what some poor innocent child MIGHT see.
[tags]Street View, Google Maps, Google[/tags]