THE BLOG
12/09/2007 09:47 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Googlevision

I received an email from a sorta-friend who was kind enough to send a photo of my place of residence with the caption: "does this look familiar?" Of course it looked familiar, but only in the way that you have an embarrassing moment of doubt: that is my front door, right?

Well, it is my front door in that photo, and I know the email sender was not the photographer because that person lives a thousand miles away and has never visited my city. The photo is good, it makes my place look neat and inviting, which it is, but that's supposed to be a nice surprise for first time visitors, not common knowledge. The sorta-friend even wrote, "I have to come visit!" No comment about that.

At least the photo showed my driveway when it's actually visible instead of covered with leaves or whatever trash has blown onto it from the relatively busy street on which I live. But the greatest aspect of the photo was its biggest omission: myself. Alas, the same cannot be said for everyone else's place of residence or business as it appears on 'Googlevision', a.k.a. the 'street view' function of Googlemaps.

I know one person who put on her Google goggles to see if she could spot one of her exes in a candid makeout with one of the bims for whom she was left. Think that's unusual or stalker-like? Think again. She only tried it because one of her coworkers was using the function for a work presentation and actually saw/caught his girlfriend holding hands and walking down the street with another man. Even I can admit to having checked it to see if one guy, who I know parks his car outside of his place, has been lying about the car itself. He says he has a Ferrari and I highly doubt he'd park it on the street and I had a hunch he was full of it. He lives several states away so I can't rightly head over there to confirm his claim. That's where Googlevision came in. I know some people rail against the 'intrusion' of Googlevision but I love it.

I never learned the real deal with Ferrari guy and I didn't actually care (anyone stupid enough to leave a Ferrari on the street would probably leave me out there, too). But knowing that -- very soon, anyway -- I could see a detailed view of pretty much anywhere in the continental U.S. piques my interest. There is a little spy in all of us that likes to see the world around us without having to physically explore it. We want to see our world as others see it and we jump at the chance to have a second pair of eyes. One of my friends moved to another city and 'seeing' his apartment building somehow makes me feel like he's not that far away. How great it is to see beforehand how close a hotel's front door is to all the hustle and bustle. Someone coming to visit your city for the first time? If it's one of the lucky locations on 'Googlevision' you can realistically point them in the right direction to see all there is to see. Mention a landmark and now they can actually see it before they have to remember to turn right once they reach it.

No longer are we limited to a bird's eye view of... anywhere. Not only can you see a street or a store window, but you can turn 360-degrees and 'walk' back if you need to. It's terrifically fun and cool and I highly recommend it. Just remember not to go from curious to creepy. That means, if you want to 'see' my front door, I can't stop you. Nor can I stop you from sending a picture of it to my inbox. But let me save you the energy -- I already know what it looks like.