Fighting in the Street View

I’ve been waiting for the launch of Google Street View in the UK for some time and until yesterday was reduced to looking up streets in random US cities including the building I used to live in Seattle. (It’s Bellevue Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102, USA – go on take a look)

Anyway as was to be predicted the launch was greeted with protests over privacy. But come on. Look at the complete non-story in London litter lout’s favourite rag, Metro. “Users can clearly see the headquarters of MI5”. Blimey! They can also see that by going there, by looking it up on the web or by asking for directions. Most potential enemies of the state haven't been awaiting the arrival of Street View before hatching their evil plans.

It also quotes one Simon Davies (who he?), director of Privacy International (oh right) : “Consent is required before people’s personal information can be captured and used by a commercial organisation” he says.

OK there are inevitable glitches where the face blur hasn’t cut in but no doubt Google will fix that (and you can’t even see the guy in the ambulance anyway).

Metro’s team of crack journalists are clearly not giving up this big story as its website now has more deeply shocking images of a man leaving a sex shop, a man throwing up in East London, a dog pooping (although looks to be an American dog) …blah bah blah. No doubt they are desperate to find a couple having sex outside a kebab shop somewhere.

All in all, really, not much to complain about – and a lot more to be cheerful about.

Here’s just one good reason: buying or renting a flat just got more interesting. Now you can see what the area is like before you get there – and that surprisingly cheap property actually backs onto the gasworks and the street is full of drug dealers (with their faces blurred out).

Google has proved yet again that it’s the planet’s most innovative company and is changing our lives once more. Embrace it.
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