Google has an automobile with people in it driving around taking pictures of everything on the planet so that those who never leave the house can see the world. It’s actually helpful and an environmentally smart way to travel.
I have a habit of weeding and working in my gardens in my bathing suit. My ex-husband used to scold me when we lived in a townhouse complex whenever I was out front with my flowers bent over for all the neighbors to gawk at. I could have cared less. The issue was his.
My new husband thinks it’s cool, but we also live in a rural area with no neighbors at all across the street who may think my butt is worth gawking at.
Google’s intent is to take pictures of public places rather than private homes. According to the article Smile, You’re on Google,
Google satisfied some critics when it recently deployed a technology that automatically blurs faces and license plates. But its latest venture into more-rural areas created a new controversy.
Up a single-lane road outside Freestone, Google went past a gate with a “no trespassing” sign and captured images on private property. Several residences can be seen on the property, including an up-close shot of someone’s living room window.
My big front yard and long driveway are bordered by a public road. My neighbors and us, though we live in a rural area, live on a popular “back route” to a busy town. We all have our decks, pools, hot tubs, gardens, etc. located in our backyards, away from the driver’s going by. However, my neighbor buddy, “W”, and I are often out front in bathing suits tending our gardens we also have in our front yards.
From the above article,
Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo declined to say why some areas were photographed and others left uncovered. But she said the company is branching out well beyond big cities.
“We’re not just trying to do the major metro areas; we’re trying to get these small towns too,” Filadelfo said. As for photographing on private property, she said the company tries to avoid it.
“It is our policy to only gather photos on public roads,” she said. “We’ll certainly take down images taken on private property.” But once the images are online, it can become impossible for Google to stop their reproduction on other Web sites.
Discussing Google’s Street View in Cre8asiteforums, in a thread called Google’s Street View, Privacy Infringement?, Google employee and forums member, John Mu, tells us,
When you see something inappropriate, please take the time to report it to Google. It’s easy to do, just click the “Street View Help” link on top of the image, then click on “Report inappropriate image”. It’ll bring up a form where you can specify exactly what the problem is and submit it (don’t try that unless it’s really a problem). I just noticed that the help center article on that even has a video explaining how to do it.
Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel. If I saw pictures of my front yard and the kids, even with blurred faces, I’d still feel violated. If I was bent over and they saw fit to snap my butt, and then blurred THAT out, I’d be miffed. What I do in my front yard is my business and can’t possibly be of interest to Internet users in Japan.
See also the funny, and true, Chatting with a Google Street View Driver by Pierre Far.
The drivers just showed up for “a driving job” (his words) and didn’t know it was for Google until the arrived to pick up the cars.
Related: Google Street View And The California Constitution by Miriam Ellis.