Top 10: Pros and cons of Google Street View Maps

By Matt Cornock

In addition to this post, you will be also interested in the more recent follow-up blog post ‘Trust or Privacy?’, which also looks at the role of Google and Google Streetview.

Google Street View maps has caused nothing but controversy as they lauched the service for 25 cities in the UK recently. Much of the complaints have been around the reactive moderation of images rather than the proactive filtering before publishing online. Reactive moderation is commonplace on large-scale sites (like forums or image galleries), where a user has to submit a complaint/request for the material to be removed from the site. Proactive moderation requires the website operator to vet any forum posts or images before they are made public, this is regarded as inefficient and nannying (not very Web 2.0 at all). According to the BBC there are already calls to shut down Street View, so here’s a light-hearted look at the top 10 pros and cons of Google’s latest UK adventure:

Pros

  1. You can see what a house/business looks like if you’re trying to find it.
  2. You will be able to tell if your hotel room has double glazing or not.
  3. Potential house buyers can check out the surrounding area from the comfort of their rented accomodation.
  4. Motorists can check how the one-way system really works in a city centre.
  5. Sculptures and features in city centres are available to all.
  6. Different examples of architecture, residential building styles etc can be compared.
  7. Everyday life in all its wonder is captured and stored as a permanent record in ways unimaginable before multimedia.
  8. People will be forced not to do embarrasing things in public, incase a Google image which captured them gets sent round the office.
  9. It’s a great application of modern technology and an achievement that such vast amounts of data appear to be so readily available.
  10. Parents will be able to check to see if their son/daughter has painted a comedy symbol on their roof (ok, it’s ariel view but you get my point).

Cons

  1. Work colleagues will discover that your grand mansion is infact a two-up, two-down Victorian cupboard.
  2. Your city centre gets a reputation for having people throw up in the street.
  3. It’s just another waste of time, like Facebook stalking, and what MSN used to be.
  4. Proud gardeners will have to up their game all year round.
  5. It is a possible infringement of civil liberties, much like making CCTV footage public in a Big Brother society.
  6. People will know that you get the bus because you own a Nissan Micra which sits on your drive.
  7. If you do something embarrasing (e.g. compromising position, visiting a shop of ill repute) and it’s found on Google Street View, you could lose your job or end up in other sticky situations.
  8. Aparently, such detailed information could be used by terrorists, criminals, and-the-like.
  9. It is yet another bandwidth hungry gimmick which could push the price of internet connections up.
  10. Other people world wide will be able to check to see that your son/daughter has painted a comedy symbol on their roof.

Predictions

  • Street View will be combined with Satellite Navigation (SatNav) systems which use wireless internet and GPRS to help lost drivers.
  • Street View will be rolled out to more cities rather than being shut down.
  • Google will receive more complaints than praise for the service in its email inbox.

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