Monday, June 18, 2007

Google Street View is Available for the San Francisco Bay Area

Controversial Google Maps Street View is in our town. This new view is significantly more intimate than the satellite view that has allowed us to find the rooftop of a specific house in a specific neighborhood. Street views bring you down to the sidewalk and even gives you a moment-in-time snapshot with anonymous rights to peek in windows. Has Google gone too far? Or, is this more useful technology in the age of information? For home buyers this could be a way to preview neighborhoods in your bedroom slippers. For the average citizen it begs the question, "Has our right to privacy finally been eroded all the way down to our own front door?"


Smudgemo said...

I'm not so sure I like the idea of that much detail being available to just anyone with a computer. Lack of privacy, I guess.

You have a nice blog.

Berkhills Blogger said...

I tend to agree. In the past, internet wise individuals could self monitor with the realization that the information on the web can be seen by everyone and may be out in hyberspace forever. It feels invasive to have Google relentlessly pursuing information about us. In my opinion, if you see the google car-mounted camera on your street, duck! Better yet, in keeping with our Bay Area tradition of healthy protest,post a "No Google" sign out on your front lawn.

Muskego Jeff said...

I actually like the mapping and wish it were available when I was looking for a new house recently. We spent hours driving around looking at houses and neighborhoods to determine if we wanted our Realtor to set up a showing for us.

I can see where it would cause privacy concerns due to the ability to zoom in, and think the program would be fine with just the far-away views. That would have been enough for me to determine if a house was worth the drive to check out. Then again, we were looking at homes spaced around approx 150 square miles of small town and country settings, so we had potentially more traveling to do to see any given house.

Berkhills Blogger said...

This creates a new problem for sellers: Who doesn't spruce up their curb appeal prior to marketing? The extra effort is put forth purposefully to attract those who drive by. Google maps are a moment-in-time snapshot, most likely taken well in advance of your new porch paint and petunias. Will buyers be discouraged by pockmarks which are no longer present?

Muskego Jeff said...

Agreed, their maps can get dated quickly. The standard aerial shots of the home I recently sold range from 3-6 years in age, which I can tell by the size of my landscaping. People who would rely on either type of map/picture to determine 100% if they'll look at a house are doing themselves a disservice. For me, I would simply want to get a feel for the neighborhood and look for major signs of trouble - boarded up houses, graffiti, etc.

My opinion: collect all the data about the location, house, schools, etc any way you can - but nothing is going to take the place of a drive around the neighborhood and a walk through the house.