One of my photos

Street Life

March 25th, 2009 · Posted by Skuds in Life/Technology · No Comments · Life, Technology

I am really loving Google’s Street View at the moment.   Google’s cameras have not yet penetrated West Sussex so I can’t look at my house, but that doesn’t bother me too much: if I wanted to do that I could just go outside.   What I have been doing is ‘visiting’ old haunts to see if I can find them.For these purposes it is fortunate that ever since leaving Essex in about 1980 I have spent a lot of time in cities, and the four cities I am most familiar with are all Street Viewed: London, Paris, Amsterdam and New York.  As a bonus, Sydney is also on there.  It has been great fun to find the places I used to live or work, friends’ houses, hotels I stayed at, venues of memorable nights out and various other landmarks.

I could have done with this facility for Horsham the other day when I went to visit a colleague’s house for the first time and it was after dark.  It was on a fairly rural road, with only every tenth house showing a house number that is visible at night.  I ended up parking in a layby in the right general area then walking what turned out to be only a hundred metres or so to the exact house.  If I had been able to check on street-level photos first I might have been able to go straight there.

If I had the time I would like to get some of the photos on Flickr Commons of 100-year-old views of Sydney and try to find the equivalent views of the same places.  I really hope Google archive all these pictures so that in ten or twenty or more years you can compare a street scene with how it looked ten years before, or twenty, or more.

Some paranoid types are going on about the whole thing being an invasion of civil liberties and privacy or some sort of boon for criminals or terrorists – notably only really in the UK.   I have not heard about such widespread negativity from the US, France or the Netherlands, and it seems like a peculiarly British attitude: to take a major achievement liek this and moan about it.

Personally I would be dead chuffed if I found a pictuer of myself on Street View.  In fact I would go further than that: if I saw the Google camera car going down my road I think I would be sorely tempted to do the old school photo trick with it on a grand scale…

Remember those old school photos with the cameras that panned across the whole crowd to create one really wide photo?  There was always someone who tried to get on one end and then leg it to the far end so they would be in the picture twice.  I would love to see someone keep taking back-alley shortcuts so they could be passed by the camera car multiple times and appear to be on every street corner.

Things I have found out so far:

  • The flat used to live in above a chip shop in Hither Green is still above a chip shop, but the kebab shop next to it is now a Chinese takeaway.
  • My local in Hither Green, where the landlord reputedly had a giant Mexican red-footed spider ((shudder)) as a pet, is now boarded up.
  • I could still find my ex-girlfriend’s flat in Paris, which surprised me as I could have sworn I wouldn’t have remembered the name of the road.
  • My old house in Brockley now has double-yellow lines outside it.
  • The office block where I had my first job is now occupied by VSO
  • The hotel where I stayed on my fisrt visit to Australia is still there, and still with the same name 21 years later: surely some sort of record for hotels (except for the really famous ones)
  • My favourite bar in Amsterdam is (sort of ) still there.  The name has changed from Mr Coco’s to Coco’s Outback.  But the bar next door is still Cafe Nasty as it was twenty years ago.
  • The Google camera car very sensibly avoided going down the Warmoesstraat…
  • The diner where Jayne and I had breakfast every day in New York is still there, as is the restaurant where the staff all sing all the time.

I could easily spend hours just browsing the small part of the world that is covered – in fact I think I just have…

Tags: ·····

No Comments so far ↓

Like the collective mind of the Daily Mail, comments are closed.