The Future is Now

Google Maps was a pioneer in interactive global mapping software when it was first released. Not only did the software’s satellite images let people with too much free time like me look at their house from space &- which is pretty cool &- it was an interactive map of the world. In my free time I was now flying over the Himalayas, checking out the pyramids or seeing the Nazca Lines all from the comfort of my home computer.
Since its release, Google Maps has remained at the forefront of its field. And, only two years after its original release, it made another massive leap with its Street View feature. Instead of just looking at places from on high, users were able to literally able to step into and walk around such place as San Francisco, New York City and Las Vegas.
Over the months and years that followed, Google expanded Street View to a steady stream of cities around the globe. Barcelona, London, Tokyo. One metropolis at a time the world was coming to my laptop. When I was feeling stressed, instead of turning to whiskey or cocaine, like I would have in the old days, I was now going go for a stroll through Paris, or go looking for castles in Scotland.
But not matter how much solace I took in walking around the great cities of the world; there was still an empty place in my heart. Why, I asked myself, could I not go walk past my old high school in Toronto, or see who the crowd of daytime drinkers on the terrace at Idée Fixe were? When would Street View come to Canada?
In early 2008, reports of Google camera car spottings started trickling in from across the country. Google admitted they were taking pictures, but would not give any more details. It took over a year for the rumours to yield results, but when I heard Peter Mansbridge’s soothing voice announce that Street View had been released in Canada last week, I was ecstatic. I ran to my computer and walked around Canada’s major cities.
Some haters have come out to say that Street View is an affront to our right to privacy, and that Google has no right to publish pictures of people on the street. We’ll forget for a second that most of these people were probably photographed coming out of a strip joint or out on a date with their mistress, actually let’s not forget that.
Either way, the Google camera car wasn’t driving around spying on private citizens, anything that it saw was what an ordinary person would have seen walking down the street. Street View is an invaluable resource that is bringing the global community together.
So, before you listen to the whiners do their whining, try going for a walk around a foreign city. Maybe you’ll meet a pretty girl (you can’t, their faces are all blurred out), or see an interesting sight (that’s possible, they don’t blur out interesting stuff, except faces). If you don’t have a blast, you probably don’t know what fun is anyways.


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