Sunday, June 29, 2008

Freaked Out By Google Earth!

For the past couple years I have heard people refer to Google Earth and what an amazing website it is...but I paid little attention. Years ago I had poked around on the USGS satellite site and figured it was a similar thing...decades old high-altitude satellite shots of the rooftops and city streets. I thought "been there done that" it has taken until today for me to venture onto Google Earth. Well, what a bloody shock it was to find out that there is the high-up plan view of my rooftop...but there is also a closeup of my house! Taken June 2007! And not only can I see my house but I panned around to see my neighbors houses and down my street. I was astonished!

As I spewed expletives and stared at the screen my brother was in the room and sarcastically asked me where I had been for the last few years. He explained that a fleet of big vans rigged with wide-angle-lensed-cameras drive around photographing our world and posting it onto the web for all to see.

I ventured to the marina where my boat is berthed. I found my was empty. A June day...I was out sailing. Then I panned to the parking lot and saw where my little mini was parked.

Ok, that is fucking freaky. For many reasons. The world is shrinking from such technology while it simultaneously isolates many of us, relegating many relationships to being virtual...we no longer smell, touch, see, hear each other if we don't want to. Professionally I am being called upon to do more and more online facilitation....tethered to my phone by a headset, staring at a computer screen while someone miles away edits. All this technology is liberating in some ways but I ponder the costs.

For some reason this whole discovery leaves me feeling a bit unsettled and I am not completely sure why. Perhaps I fear that the next time the van comes I might be innocently sunbathing nude in my front yard or some such thing. But I think it is much deeper than that.

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