By Kathy Michaels
One Kelowna woman’s regular afternoon of housework has been forever immortalized on the web thanks to Google’s innovation and this news site’s imperative to add photos to every story.
Laura Boily wrote us, pointing out that the art accompanying a story on Google Street View coming to the Okanagan was actually a picture of her doing some chores.
“That’s me putting the stuff in the back of the van, and my mum putting the bottles out,” she said, noting the image was likely snapped last summer.
Touring through local streets with Google Street View, she is one of a number of easily visible people. While some might bemoan an invasion of privacy, Boily’s not bothered in the least.
“If you click on the photo you can see it’s me, but I don’t care,” she said. “Me and my husband looked at the picture last night, trying to see if our son was in the window or if his truck was outside as well.”
Then they had a bit more fun with Google Street View.
“It’s pretty neat,” she said. “We were looking at our other friends’ houses and we found one where it looked like they were going into the shed — but it was late, so we didn’t get too into it.”
This week, Google added more than 130 additional cities and towns across Canada to Street View on Google Maps. In addition to the Okanagan, Google has gone Olympic and posted competition venues in Vancouver and Whistler, parts of Whistler Mountain, Whistler Village, the Vancouver Athletes’ Village and Vancouver’s Stanley Park. This imagery includes the first special collection of Street View imagery in Canada.
Street View is a free feature in Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Maps for mobile. First launched in 2007, it now includes imagery from 18 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. To start exploring, simply visit maps.google.ca and zoom in to the lowest level or drag the orange “Pegman” icon from the left side of the map onto a blue-lined street.
While critics have decried the technology for its infringement on privacy, Google reps say they’ve gone to great lengths to ensure Canadians’ privacy while enabling them to benefit from Street View on Google Maps.
The feature only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads and blurs identifiable faces and licence plates. In addition, users can easily flag for removal images that they consider sensitive or inappropriate by clicking on the “Report a problem” link at the bottom of any image. Google has consulted with Canada’s federal and provincial Privacy Commissioners in developing Street View and its privacy safeguards.
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