Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Google’s Street View Is a Portal to Forgotten Places and Secret Moments

Sirin Kale, the Guardian:

On Street View, we have a panoptical view of the world and all the mysteries, non-sequiturs and idiocies that are part of everyday life. Here is Sherlock Holmes hailing a cab in Cambridge; a car submerged in a Michigan lake containing the body of a long-missing person; Mary Poppins waiting on the sidewalk at an amusement park; a caravan being stolen by a thief.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says David Soanes, a 56-year-old teacher from Linton, Derbyshire, and the owner of said caravan, which was stolen in June 2009. His son discovered the suspect on Street View and police were able to identify the man involved, although sadly this wasn’t sufficient evidence for a conviction. “I go back and look at it from time to time,” says Soanes, of the image of his former caravan mid-transfer to a new owner.

I acknowledge the privacy questions of fixing photography of the world’s roadside from the perspective of a Subaru Impreza, but I find Street View’s benefits to largely outweigh its costs.1 It is a remarkable invention, captured well here by Kale’s interview subjects.