Friday, 3 April 2009

Street smarting

I'm finding Google Street View incredibly useful for checking out a particular area we might move to. But some folk are complaining that it's invading their privacy and encouraging crime.

Angry residents of Broughton in Buckinghamshire formed a human chain to stop the Google camera-car driving through their village.

Paul Jacobs objected that his house was being photographed without his permission, and that pictures would help burglars to identify likely houses. The village had had three burglaries in the last six weeks, he said.

Oh, come now. What would be the harm in his house being publicly viewable? You couldn't see inside it, and you couldn't see the street as it is right now because it's a one-off image.

The likelihood of a burglar scanning his particular village, out of the countless thousands of villages across the country, is minute. In any case, a burglar could drive around the village and check it out that way.

All Mr Jacobs has achieved is precisely to publicise his village, which otherwise we would never have heard of.

I think Street View is fabulous. I can see if an area is smart or scruffy, leafy or built-up, quiet or busy. I can see if there are any local shops or services. That saves me all the trouble of physically visiting the neighbourhood and walking around it to get the same information. Surely that's a brilliant innovation?

Come on, Mr Jacobs, stop being so paranoid and let Google do their stuff. You know you want to really.

(Oh and before you ask - yes, our house IS on Street View. Fortunately I wasn't outside doing anything scandalous at the time)

Note to burglars: Broughton is just outside the town of Aylesbury, easily accessible from several major roads. What are you waiting for?

Isn't it depressing that the media's only interest in Michelle Obama's British visit is the clothes she's wearing and whether they're more glamorous than Carla's? Excuse me, she was actually DOING a few things....


  1. I've read that they fuzz out people's faces and licence plate numbers and anything which could identify individuals. I honestly can't see what the fuss is about, it's not invading anybody's privacy.

    Although this guy was pretty enterprising...

  2. Me too, Nick. I checked out our hotel in Paris and cruised around the neighbourhood to get the proximity of other locales. Incredible.
    I don't understand the whingers, methinks it is their lack of understanding. If I'm going to burglarize you I'm certainly going to physically case your joint and not rely on a stale-dated google upload.
    PS I'm glad you got Voluptua out of the way of the google camera....

  3. Caro - I read that story about the roofer stealing lead thanks to Google Earth. Of course without Google Earth he would still have nicked lead from somewhere.

    www - Checking hotels is another brilliant benefit. And as you say, any burglar who relied on an out-of-date picture would be foolish. God yes, suppose Voluptua had just been rushing out....

  4. Since Street view is always a couple of years old, I really don't get the paranoia. You could walk down the street anyway. I found my Nana's house in England via Street View . .looks just the same as it always did!

  5. They haven't managed to find me yet, but give it time.

    I saw the house where I grew up in Dublin and my brother's house too.

  6. Some folks are paranoid about anything. Maybe they've paved their drives with gold and leave their doors and windows open all day with a prized marrow adoring the front lawn?

  7. Baino - Quite, you could just walk down the street anyway. It was ironic that the TV news cameras were showing all the same images as Street View!

    Grannymar - That's a good idea, looking out the places you used to live in, and relatives' houses.

    Sun - Of course, that must be it, their houses are encrusted with precious stones and the gardens are full of Henry Moore sculptures. No wonder they want to keep it all secret.

  8. I haven't played with it yet but it seems like a good way to take a trip down memory lane to where I lived before

  9. Quicky - It's good for looking out your old haunts. I'm amazed the house I was brought up in till I was 14 hasn't changed in any way. It doesn't look worth burgling either....

  10. I don't see the problem either - it quite fun really :-)

  11. Conor - It's a lot of fun. I have to stop myself gawping at street after street out of sheer curiosity.

  12. I saw a really stupid article with photos of Michelle and Carla which asked readers to vote for the more stylishly dressed first lady. And I noticed that both of them looked quite unhappy, as would any intelligent woman when reduced to the clothes on her back.

  13. Heart - I noticed they looked a bit glum as well. They must have been privately cursing the utter superficiality of the media.