The Street View feature in Google Maps has caused a flurry of attention from people ranging from privacy advocates to voyeurs to legislators. The ability to pan around browsing photos shot along streets seems fun and compelling, though it’s also raised all sorts of issues and controversy as our ability to search and process information has grown quicker than policies have evolved to deal with it all.

Here’s a handful of some of the interesting images we’ve gathered from various sources to highlight some of the notable aspects of the feature.

Love is in the Air:

LoveInSky
(map link)

Lack of Street Neutrality – In the great fight against the “communism” of network neutrality, Verizon has now expanded their role beyond control of just internet commerce to intercepting traffic in the real world on Wall Street itself — notice the street path traced straight through the middle of the building by the software in this photo:

WallStreet
(map link)

(This was actually due to a photo getting out of sequence. This Verizon Wireless building is apparently just off Wall Street, on Water Street.)

Green Lantern, standing guard inside a store window:

Green Lantern nabbed in Street View
(map link)

Amish Horse & Buggy – The Amish don’t really like to have their photographs taken – in fact, many of them do not have photos in their house nor do they keep family photo albums because of the Old Testament Bible prohibition against “graven images”. This photo of an Amish person snapped in the Pennsylvanian countryside creates an interesting contrast between the old world and new technology.

Amish horse & buggy in Google Street View
(map link)

Sightseeing – Via Street View, one can take virtual journeys to many of the top sightseeing hotspots throughout America. Here’s just a few:

The Coit Tower: in San Francisco:

Coit Tower
(map link)

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood:

Grauman's Chinese Theatre
(map link)

Empire State Building in Manhattan:

Empire State Building
(map link)

Kennedy Assassination Location – note the location marked with an “X” on the street in Dallas where Kennedy was assassinated:

KennedyAssassination
(map link)

The Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas:

Alamo
(map link)

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California:

GoldenGateBridge
(map link)

Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachussetts

FaneuilHall
(map link)

World’s Largest Donut?

GiantDonut
(map link)

Paris Casino, Las Vegas, NV:

ParisCasino
(map link)

Street Fight – a fight seems to’ve been caught in this sequence. First, a group of men appear to be standing around, talking. Next, a man appears to take a swing at another. In the next frame, we can see the man who was swung at crouching over as though he’d been popped in the nose. Then, the guys appear to be walking off, and the one that was struck appears to have blood around his nose.

Fight
(map link)

Sunbathers – topless? Inevitably, some of the people browsing Street View pics are doing so with voyeuristic intentions, so quite a number of folx have documented sunbathing pics like this one:

sunbathers
(map link)

Embarrassing Activity – Man Walking Into Adult Book Store. Many commentators and consumer interest groups have expressed concerns about individual privacy rights associated with accidental capturing of individuals like found in this photo. In fact, Google has adapted to intense pressure in the EU and has begun to blur out individuals’ faces automatically in the pictures.

adultbookstore
(map link)

Alien Body Snatchers Caught by Street View – You can see that this alien was caught on film with his guard down, allowing his naturally-glowing eyes to be seen briefly. We’re certain to see more and more of this sort of thing as they expand their infection into the human population.

AlienPodPeople
(map link)

Sticker-covered Vehicle – interestingly wallpapered SUV from Berkeley, of course:

stickercar
(map link)

Rip in the Time-Space Continuum – this unfortunate sinkhole in the time-space continuum was captured in San Francisco. It’s been suggested that this was actually only a temporary condition caused when the Governator dropped in from a visit in the far future, but we’ve been unable to verify.

Rip In Time-Space Continuum
(map link)

Pinhead Spotted Walking in San Jose – since Street View splices together many sequences of photos as the camera vehicle moves along streets, and it also captures people and vehicles in motion as well, there are many examples of odd transitions where two pictures are merged together. This effect is quite similar in cause to the Escher Effect seen in many of the screen captures of satellite or aerial photos found in online maps.

PinHead
(map link)

R2D2 – one of the R2D2 post boxes.

R2-D2 Post Box
(map link)

Yahoo in Google – here’s Yahoo’s Times Square ad. Yahoo may have that pilot program where they pull Google ads into their search results, but Yahoo’s ad has apparently already been in Google. This leads us to speculate philosophically: is the universe innately recursive?

yahoo
(map link)

Google Sky View – this airplane landing in Las Vegas happened to be captured by the Street View cams:

Airplane landing - Google Street View
(map link)

Automobile Accident – Street View is on the road so comprehensively for an area that it was nearly inevitable that it would happen upon an accident like this car crash.

Crash
(map link)

UNIX – naturally, the operating system underpinning Google Maps and Google Street View is UNIX, as shown by this minor glitch:

UNIX
(map link)

Drug Deal? Street View observers highlighted one of the pics in this sequence, suggesting a drug deal had been captured. Is it really a drug deal? Maybe not. One of the biggest sources of entertainment for Street View fans is to take everday scenes captured in the interface and then associate funny interpretations on the pics when posting them in forums. In any case, Google decided to remove a number of pictures along this street after someone suggested the photos documented drug deals. One question: did the Chicago police investigate these photos, or did individuals along the street request the removal of the pix? There have been a number of cases where Google has removed pictures of people being arrested, likely out of concern for suspects’ privacy rights.

DrugDeal
(map link)

Breaking & Entering? Here’s another supposed crime pic — various screengrabs of this particular image have become probably the most widely-highlighted pic from Street View:

Breaking Entering
(map link)

Google Employees Are Very Environmentally-Conscious – here’s the Google headquarters sign in Mountain View – notice the “I (heart) 51 MPG” license plate on the car next to it:

Google HQ Sign - Goog Employee Environmentally Conscious
(map link)

Yahoo Headquarters in Sunnyvale, California:

YahooHQ
(map link)

Toll Booth – the Google Street View Team stops to pay the toll on an Indiana road:

Tollway
(map link)

Some other sources for remarkable Street View images:

Chris “Silver” Smith is Lead Strategist at Netconcepts. The Locals Only column appears on Mondays (except for holiday weeks, when it appears a bit later) at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Legal: Privacy | Local Search Column | Search & Society: General

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About The Author: is President of Argent Media, and serves on advisory boards for Universal Business Listing and FindLaw. Follow him @si1very on Twitter.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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