I’ve been fairly consistent in my praise of Google’s many innovations, but I just have to question their Street View and Latitude programs.
The Street View feature of Google maps allows the user to see an address as it looks from the street. I don’t see the point of having residential neighborhoods as a part of the Street View function. A couple from Pittsburgh actually sued Google over photographs of their house and several other buildings on their property. This article from Brian Cooper on IT Business Net discusses the lawsuit and Google’s response.
What it boils down to is if you don’t want your house shown as part of the Street View you have to click the Report A Concern when viewing the picture of your house. You can then indicate you have privacy concerns.
Last week, Google launched new software, Google Latitude which allows users to share their location with others using their cell phones as the locator. You have to sign up for this service, but I can still see issues with it. How important is for someone to know exactly where you are at a given time? I just don’t see the need for this type of application. Though Google addresses some of the privacy concerns it still feels too Big Brother-ish.
What do you think about these types of applications? Are we simply moving to a society where privacy isn’t paramount? Will you be removing your house from Google’s Street View?