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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Googling in Juneau

OK, so who wouldn't be thrilled to see the Google Car driving toward you on your street with its space age camera?

The delivery guy and I were jockeying for position to take pictures of it. When we talked to the driver who was clearly used to the attention, he only asked that we not take pictures of him. He said he had been on too many Facebook pages. No problem, I said. I wasn't thinking of Facebook anyway. This is blog material!

So, this is not the first time that the Google car has been to Juneau because I remember seeing our house on Google Maps Street View back before almost any other place in Alaska had been mapped. It was a strange phenomenon then. And now? We almost expect it. We would feel affronted if all of our streets were not mapped. Yet, do you remember the privacy concerns then? I don't hear those anymore. But some people still find it an invasion of privacy and sort of creepy. For many of us, it has become just another tool. And we now expect more. They even mapped the tiniest roads in Haines, population 1,811 people. I suspect they haven't made it to the villages yet - prohibitive in terms of getting a car to a roadless place - but that is probably not far off. We live in a time of wonders that soon become commonplace.

Look at that camera. I can't even begin to imagine how it works to take photos up and down and all round to form a whole. And yet, it does. (And why couldn't someone just carry that on a small plane into a village? And attach it to a four wheeler and drive around. Just wondering.)

You get a better look at the amazing camera this way. And I only took a picture of the driver's arm, not his face. See, I kept my promise to him. And anyway, when you take a job like this one, you have to realize that you are a kind of rock star to the nerdiest among us and you have to accept that if you take pictures of us, we get to take pictures of you. Fair is fair.


  1. love met the Google Map camera man!!!! and yes, we do want more, don't we? Such a conflict...easy access vs privacy!

  2. We were driving home one afternoon and passed a Google car. A month or so later, my husband looked up the street view on Google maps and there we were in our vehicle, caught on camera. I don't know why he was so delighted--actually quite giddy. The Google camera does that to sweet computer nerds.