How far is too far?

Posted by: ST on May 30, 2007 at 10:52 pm

We’ve all heard about and likely visited the Google Earth and/or Google Maps websites. Now read about Google’s latest feature:

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Google said it will refresh its Google Earth/Google Maps strategy at the Where 2.0 conference here this afternoon.

In a speech before conference attendees titled “The Evolution of the Geoweb,” Google Earth and Maps Director John Hanke announced new features called Street View and Mapplets. He also called for more standardization of the Geoweb.

Street View enables users to view and navigate within 360-degree street level imagery from San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Denver and Miami. The images are at a high enough resolution to allow users to zoom into the fine print of nearby street signs. The feature is similar to the bird’s eye-view feature Microsoft introduced with its Live Local Search last fall.

Stephen Chau, a Google Maps product manager, told that Google’s first priority is to add more cities to the Street View roster, rather than keep the current five cities frequently updated. The imagery, which is between a month and a year old, comes from Google and third-party vendors, he said.

Drudge has a few searches up that he apparently did, just to show how close and how intimate the “street view” can get. Go here and click on the “street view” link and then you’ll see pictures of cameras on the cities this is currently being done in. Then click “zoom in.” You should see a little person standing in the middle of the screen. Click on that to see how close Google Maps can take you. Drag the little person around a bit for views of other parts of whatever city you’re searching in.

What do you think? Is this taking things too far in terms of privacy? Or is it a useful tool to help people get to know cities better? Or is it both?

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11 Responses to “How far is too far?”


  1. NC Cop says:

    Does it have directions to Carmen Electra’s window????:d

  2. pjb says:

    If it shows places like national parks and monuments that would be cool.

  3. Mwalimu Daudi says:


    If the Bush Administration announced a similar program for military/national security/environmental reasons, then the MSM would go howarddean.

  4. camojack says:

    Big Brother is watching! :o

  5. Syberyenta says:

    I live in New York, and I think this is very cool. [I especially like the fact that they’ve put the subway stops on the map.]

    I think it will make it easier for people to get to where they’re going. I also think it will be good for tourism.

  6. Chuck says:

    I think Microsoft Live Earth has been experimenting with this for the past year or two already. From the examples I saw I didn’t see anything that I would consider an invasion of privacy. Unless you can get into Carmen Electra’s window. :d It’s not a live shot or anything where you can “monitor” anybody.

  7. benning says:

    For me this would be a waste of time. And I agree with Mwalimu. Imagine the hue and cry if Republican tried this! Sheesh!

    pjb makes a good point. Parks and such would be nice to see.

  8. jim b says:

    Al-Qaeda should love this thing. It’s a way for them to scout and prepare attacks with far less danger and resources.

    Recon on the cheap.

  9. Lorica says:

    Well there goes nude time in the hot tub!! :( So when is Charlotte going to be on Google Earth?? /Starts to search for Sis’s townhouse. Ohhhhh Myyyyy :o) – Lorica

  10. Leslie says:

    I live in New York and I found my apt. building. I zoomed in thisclose and I can’t see anything that would invade my privacy.

    I’m cool with this.

    As for terrorists, geez! Any place they’d be interest in hitting has more and better maps and photos than anything that’s on this site.


  11. Lorica says:

    Maybe we can start to use this to solve crimes then. :D – Lorica