Think of it as a snapshot of Americana, frozen in time for all to see. It's Google's new "Street View." To see what I mean, just type your address in a Google search bar, click on "Maps" and then "Street View." Oh, one important note: you have to have to live in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Miami or New York to see it in action. Google does say more cities are on the way though, so yours may be next.
To get the 360-degree view, Google used a camera with 11 lenses mounted on top of a van and basically drove up and down the streets capturing everything along the way. The images were then "stitched" together to provide the uber-panoramic view.
Of course, along with all the mundane are the strange and, well, rather voyeuristic stuff. From a man seemingly climbing a wall to an angry woman on a cell phone to plenty of, um, scantily-clad people or those in some stage of awkward undress.
It's got some privacy groups concerned, especially when people can be identified entering sensitive or controversial places, but others see it simply as a handy tool for transplanted urbanites or tourists scoping out a particular neighborhood. In some cases the images aren't clear enough to make out faces anyway. It really depends on who you ask, but it usually elicits a combination of both creepy and cool at the same time. And it certainly underscores how Google is continuing to amass a huge amount of locational and information data. Is our privacy at stake as a result?
We'd love to hear your thoughts so by all means post them below.