Google getting held to higher privacy standard that Microsoft or Amazon

Man, the story about the cat in the window on Google’s new Street Level photography is getting TONS of mainstream press play. Even Ronn Owens on KGO Radio (usually known as a middle-of-the-road calming voice) was furious about the new feature yesterday.

I always thought that Google would get bad PR over some sort of privacy issue, but this? This is the WRONG issue for privacy folks to be worried about. Truth is this isn’t nearly as bad as some of the stuff that advertisers are doing or are thinking of doing with their databases. Let’s go down the supermarket aisle. What does buying a Coke say about you? Not much, right? Well, what if you buy tampons? Doesn’t the marketing world know a little more about you now? How about when you buy AC/DC off of iTunes? Or when you go into 7/11 and buy some condoms? What about when you go to Amazon and buy a book about how to create a great resume? How about when you watch Oprah on TV?

And on and on. What these companies will do with those databases (and the inferences they’ll make about who I am) worries me a lot more than whether you can see the front of my house and/or whether or not I have a cat in the window. Already our anti-terrorist folks are using such databases to figure out who might be a threat to society. Just go into a store and buy three tons of fertilizer and rent a truck and see what happens to you.

But, back to the issue. Truth is Amazon did street side photography more than a year ago (they’ve since taken down A9 maps). Then Microsoft did it on its Virtual Earth site. Heck, Microsoft didn’t just do street side in exactly the same way that Google is doing now, but flew a plane over major cities. Here’s a video I did with Microsoft’s street side mapping team. What if the drug agency was using that photography to find your rooftop marijuana plants? Or, if you were sunbathing naked?

Why no uproar about those things?

Ahh, FOG. Fear Of Google.

Thanks for protecting my privacy. Now, what about the patterning software that marketers are working on to figure out what kind of person I am based on my purchases?

I know why the media (including many bloggers) isn’t worried about THAT. It’s too hard to explain in two minutes. Instead they focus on a cat in a Window. Got it.

At least now Microsofties can’t complain that they are being held to a higher standard than Google is.

Oh, and does anyone find any irony in the fact that Mary Kalin-Casey dislikes Google taking a picture of her cat from the street but invited a New York Times photographer into her house to take even more pictures? Can anyone spell hypocrite?

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Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. Higher standard? Hah, they been held to no standard (‘do no evil’), as all the bloggers were ‘pretty colored balls’ giddy over the Google Noise Juice and Ad Sense chinks. But that’s starting to wear off eeven with the true believers…as well it should. Trust no one.

  2. Higher standard? Hah, they been held to no standard (‘do no evil’), as all the bloggers were ‘pretty colored balls’ giddy over the Google Noise Juice and Ad Sense chinks. But that’s starting to wear off eeven with the true believers…as well it should. Trust no one.

  3. Christopher: truth is the press and bloggers alike mostly pick on the entity that sits on top. Google used to be the underdog, now it’s the top dog so the PR is shifting (fairly or unfairly).

    I bet that this is all helping out Google anyway. After all, now everyone went to Google Maps to see if their privacy was being infringed on and probably discovered that Google Maps is pretty darn cool. Mapquest still has most of the market. I bet they lost some yesterday.

  4. Christopher: truth is the press and bloggers alike mostly pick on the entity that sits on top. Google used to be the underdog, now it’s the top dog so the PR is shifting (fairly or unfairly).

    I bet that this is all helping out Google anyway. After all, now everyone went to Google Maps to see if their privacy was being infringed on and probably discovered that Google Maps is pretty darn cool. Mapquest still has most of the market. I bet they lost some yesterday.

  5. Um, because the picture *wasn’t* of her rooftop, or someone sunbathing outside. It’s a picture through her window.

    It’s annoying how you keep telling people that this is the WRONG thing for people to be bothered by. It’s really not your place to be telling people what they should and shouldn’t feel creeped out about. I know this concept is foreign to you, but a lot of people aren’t looking for a spotlight 24 hours a day.

    I remember people bringing up privacy issue with the detail you could see in MS’s Virtual Earth, so I don’t know what you’re on about there. Fear of Google? You’re really trying too hard to land a job there…

  6. Um, because the picture *wasn’t* of her rooftop, or someone sunbathing outside. It’s a picture through her window.

    It’s annoying how you keep telling people that this is the WRONG thing for people to be bothered by. It’s really not your place to be telling people what they should and shouldn’t feel creeped out about. I know this concept is foreign to you, but a lot of people aren’t looking for a spotlight 24 hours a day.

    I remember people bringing up privacy issue with the detail you could see in MS’s Virtual Earth, so I don’t know what you’re on about there. Fear of Google? You’re really trying too hard to land a job there…

  7. “At least now Microsofties can’t complain that they are being held to a higher standard than Google is”

    only in online privacy issues.

    yes, Google gets grossly unfair criticism on privacy related stuff.

    But i would think it’s not so much the fact that google has the information. Its about how easy it can make the access to that info.( for inst, this streetview thing)

  8. “At least now Microsofties can’t complain that they are being held to a higher standard than Google is”

    only in online privacy issues.

    yes, Google gets grossly unfair criticism on privacy related stuff.

    But i would think it’s not so much the fact that google has the information. Its about how easy it can make the access to that info.( for inst, this streetview thing)

  9. Excellent and very astute post, Robert. As Douglas Adams would say, “Don’t Panic.”

    Simply because what Google does is more visible than a lot of the existing (and insidious) marketing tactics out there makes them a high-profile target and the center of this bruahaha. Think about all the information held in marketing databases from very banal, every day activities–going to the grocery store, using your credit card, using your landline, choosing what you want to watch on cable…

    That being said, this is indeed the age in which engineers and pure technologists can no longer relegate the greater social concerns in the business of technology to those expressly in the preserve of ethicists, politicians, or executives. The Maps team, in this case, should take the opportunity to think more deeply about technological solutions, or alternative approaches that can better protect individually-identifiable visual information.

  10. Excellent and very astute post, Robert. As Douglas Adams would say, “Don’t Panic.”

    Simply because what Google does is more visible than a lot of the existing (and insidious) marketing tactics out there makes them a high-profile target and the center of this bruahaha. Think about all the information held in marketing databases from very banal, every day activities–going to the grocery store, using your credit card, using your landline, choosing what you want to watch on cable…

    That being said, this is indeed the age in which engineers and pure technologists can no longer relegate the greater social concerns in the business of technology to those expressly in the preserve of ethicists, politicians, or executives. The Maps team, in this case, should take the opportunity to think more deeply about technological solutions, or alternative approaches that can better protect individually-identifiable visual information.

  11. n00b: I don’t remember hardly anyone mentioning it when it was the Virtual Earth team. Certainly not the nightly news or the New York Times.

    >It’s really not your place to be telling people what they should and shouldn’t feel creeped out about.

    Who are you to tell me what my place is or isn’t? I’m a blogger. It’s my opinion. It CERTAINLY IS my place to tell you. It’s up to you whether to listen or not.

  12. n00b: I don’t remember hardly anyone mentioning it when it was the Virtual Earth team. Certainly not the nightly news or the New York Times.

    >It’s really not your place to be telling people what they should and shouldn’t feel creeped out about.

    Who are you to tell me what my place is or isn’t? I’m a blogger. It’s my opinion. It CERTAINLY IS my place to tell you. It’s up to you whether to listen or not.

  13. As for a Google job? That’s funny. I talked with one guy yesterday who went through three days of interviews with Google, got a job offer, then had it rescinded because they figured out he didn’t have a college degree. And this was a famous developer who’d built something really cool.

    Translation: I don’t have a chance at Google.

  14. As for a Google job? That’s funny. I talked with one guy yesterday who went through three days of interviews with Google, got a job offer, then had it rescinded because they figured out he didn’t have a college degree. And this was a famous developer who’d built something really cool.

    Translation: I don’t have a chance at Google.

  15. “I don’t remember hardly anyone mentioning it when it was the Virtual Earth team”

    I beleive the VE mapping went through a rigorous manual process of ‘un-detailing’ before the 3D view was introduced in local.live.com.

  16. “I don’t remember hardly anyone mentioning it when it was the Virtual Earth team”

    I beleive the VE mapping went through a rigorous manual process of ‘un-detailing’ before the 3D view was introduced in local.live.com.

  17. “Translation: I don’t have a chance at Google”

    if you had a chance would you take it?

  18. “Translation: I don’t have a chance at Google”

    if you had a chance would you take it?

  19. “did you just say that Google makes it easier to get to street level photography than Microsoft does”

    Not specifically on streetview. But yes on a general scale. But hey, I am not anti-google. I am just anti ‘anti-microsoft’.

  20. “did you just say that Google makes it easier to get to street level photography than Microsoft does”

    Not specifically on streetview. But yes on a general scale. But hey, I am not anti-google. I am just anti ‘anti-microsoft’.

  21. >Oh, and does anyone find any irony in the fact that >Mary Kalin-Casey dislikes Google taking a picture of >her cat from the street but invited a New York Times >photographer into her house to take even more >pictures? Can anyone spell hypocrite?

    I think the difference here is a consensual “agreement”, between the photographer and the photographed. (Or in this case, the proxy of the photographed–the cat owner). It makes a lot of difference whether the images were taken with permission, or seemingly “sneaked.”

  22. >Oh, and does anyone find any irony in the fact that >Mary Kalin-Casey dislikes Google taking a picture of >her cat from the street but invited a New York Times >photographer into her house to take even more >pictures? Can anyone spell hypocrite?

    I think the difference here is a consensual “agreement”, between the photographer and the photographed. (Or in this case, the proxy of the photographed–the cat owner). It makes a lot of difference whether the images were taken with permission, or seemingly “sneaked.”

  23. What I find amusing abut this whole thing is that she is so worried about her privacy, but then she posts a link to Google maps with her address on it…

  24. “Even Ronn Owens on KGO Radio (usually known as a middle-of-the-road calming voice) was furious about the new feature yesterday.”

    Ronn Owens is a buffoon. This self-proclaimed “moderate” spent months and months advocating war with Iraq. Now he rarely talks about the issue, because to do so would mean admitting he was in the wrong, that the war he advocated is a complete fiasco. I live near Fort Lewis, which just announced that they will be doing monthly mass-services rather than individual services for dead soldiers, so great are the deaths (Fort Lewis alone lost 19 soldiers last month, and for what?). Once Ronn Owens mans up and admits that he was wrong on that issue from the get go (that would mean having the gonads to actually address the topic again), then I might pay heed to what he has to say on a given topic.

    As for the Google issue, aiming and zooming cameras inside people’s homes and then allowing millions to see the photos goes too far. I think it’s actually illegal to publish such photos since the “subjects” of the photos are in the privacy of their own homes. It’s quite different from being photoed in a public area like an amusement park.

    And Robert, save me the tears about Google being held to higher scrutiny. Yesterday you declared Google to be the platform “we” are now using, so let them be under the scrutiny that goes along with that.

  25. What I find amusing abut this whole thing is that she is so worried about her privacy, but then she posts a link to Google maps with her address on it…

  26. “Even Ronn Owens on KGO Radio (usually known as a middle-of-the-road calming voice) was furious about the new feature yesterday.”

    Ronn Owens is a buffoon. This self-proclaimed “moderate” spent months and months advocating war with Iraq. Now he rarely talks about the issue, because to do so would mean admitting he was in the wrong, that the war he advocated is a complete fiasco. I live near Fort Lewis, which just announced that they will be doing monthly mass-services rather than individual services for dead soldiers, so great are the deaths (Fort Lewis alone lost 19 soldiers last month, and for what?). Once Ronn Owens mans up and admits that he was wrong on that issue from the get go (that would mean having the gonads to actually address the topic again), then I might pay heed to what he has to say on a given topic.

    As for the Google issue, aiming and zooming cameras inside people’s homes and then allowing millions to see the photos goes too far. I think it’s actually illegal to publish such photos since the “subjects” of the photos are in the privacy of their own homes. It’s quite different from being photoed in a public area like an amusement park.

    And Robert, save me the tears about Google being held to higher scrutiny. Yesterday you declared Google to be the platform “we” are now using, so let them be under the scrutiny that goes along with that.

  27. “Oh, and does anyone find any irony in the fact that Mary Kalin-Casey dislikes Google taking a picture of her cat from the street but invited a New York Times photographer into her house to take even more pictures? Can anyone spell hypocrite?”

    Scoble, if you really can’t see the difference between these two scenarios, then you aren’t too bright. Which I know isn’t the case, which means that you’re throwing it out there just to be provacative (or to do more Google brown-nosing). You’ve been reading too much Welch; he makes BS arguments all the time that he *knows* are BS. Don’t you too go there.

  28. “Oh, and does anyone find any irony in the fact that Mary Kalin-Casey dislikes Google taking a picture of her cat from the street but invited a New York Times photographer into her house to take even more pictures? Can anyone spell hypocrite?”

    Scoble, if you really can’t see the difference between these two scenarios, then you aren’t too bright. Which I know isn’t the case, which means that you’re throwing it out there just to be provacative (or to do more Google brown-nosing). You’ve been reading too much Welch; he makes BS arguments all the time that he *knows* are BS. Don’t you too go there.

  29. I am also suprised and a little more than peeved about the idiocy and hypocrisy surrounding this issue. Dozens of other companies know so much more about us, and do much more insidious things with our data (think ISPs, credit card companies, banks, etc).

    And all this uproar about a Picture. Of. A. Cat.

    Are you serious? As Robert mentioned the other day, not one of these photographs is illegal. The idea that a picture of a cat in a window (or anything seen by a reasonable person walking down a street) is an invasion of our privacy is insulting to those who care about some of the very real ways that our personal lives might be compromised. Believe me, I’ve seen way worse and more personal (“private”) things go down walking around NYC. I have a pretty good cell phone camera – watch out!

    The one good thing I see coming out of this furor is that in yesterday’s witch hunt to find the most awesomely sensitive photos in Street View, the “winning photos” of this hunt have revealed to any reasonable person just how non-critical and trivial this is. Lord almighty – a man standing outside of a strip club! How about the fact that at any given moment in Manhattan there are a dozen people standing in front of a strip club? Sheesh.

    You don’t have privacy in public. Simple as that. And you don’t have privacy if you dance nude in front of a window with the light on. Or if it’s your cat doing the nude dance.

    There are real issues in the world. This is not one of them. As much as the blogosphere would LOVE to believe that a picture of a cat is *big news* – it’s not.

    I hope I’m nude in my window in Brooklyn when the Googlemobile drives by. I’ll “wave.”

  30. I am also suprised and a little more than peeved about the idiocy and hypocrisy surrounding this issue. Dozens of other companies know so much more about us, and do much more insidious things with our data (think ISPs, credit card companies, banks, etc).

    And all this uproar about a Picture. Of. A. Cat.

    Are you serious? As Robert mentioned the other day, not one of these photographs is illegal. The idea that a picture of a cat in a window (or anything seen by a reasonable person walking down a street) is an invasion of our privacy is insulting to those who care about some of the very real ways that our personal lives might be compromised. Believe me, I’ve seen way worse and more personal (“private”) things go down walking around NYC. I have a pretty good cell phone camera – watch out!

    The one good thing I see coming out of this furor is that in yesterday’s witch hunt to find the most awesomely sensitive photos in Street View, the “winning photos” of this hunt have revealed to any reasonable person just how non-critical and trivial this is. Lord almighty – a man standing outside of a strip club! How about the fact that at any given moment in Manhattan there are a dozen people standing in front of a strip club? Sheesh.

    You don’t have privacy in public. Simple as that. And you don’t have privacy if you dance nude in front of a window with the light on. Or if it’s your cat doing the nude dance.

    There are real issues in the world. This is not one of them. As much as the blogosphere would LOVE to believe that a picture of a cat is *big news* – it’s not.

    I hope I’m nude in my window in Brooklyn when the Googlemobile drives by. I’ll “wave.”

  31. Your last line was dead on. I looked at the paper this morning and thought the same thing. My only question now is what generation is really up in arms about the fear of being caught on camera? God knows it’s not the generation who most likely really uses technology and posts their drunken exploits on MySpace. Like they are really going to take the time and look for a cat. Honestly folks get a grip.

    PS: I was walking to work today and saw a small dog running around in a vacant yard. Good thing I didn’t have a camera. The owner might not have liked people looking…

  32. Your last line was dead on. I looked at the paper this morning and thought the same thing. My only question now is what generation is really up in arms about the fear of being caught on camera? God knows it’s not the generation who most likely really uses technology and posts their drunken exploits on MySpace. Like they are really going to take the time and look for a cat. Honestly folks get a grip.

    PS: I was walking to work today and saw a small dog running around in a vacant yard. Good thing I didn’t have a camera. The owner might not have liked people looking…

  33. Gee Robert, you may not want a job threre but the kissing up to Google is getting worse and worse here.

    Here’s a clip from the Front page of a British newspaper last week (http://news.independent.co.uk/sci_tech/article2578479.ece) How LOW a Standard do you want to hold these guys to ?

    In a mission statement that raises the spectre of an internet Big Brother to rival Orwellian visions of the state, Google has revealed details of how it intends to organise and control the world’s information.
    The company’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said during a visit to Britain this week: “The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’.”
    Speaking at a conference organised by Google, he said : “We are very early in the total information we have within Google. The algorithms [software] will get better and we will get better at personalisation.”
    Google’s declaration of intent was publicised at the same time it emerged that the company had also invested £2m in a human genetics firm called 23andMe. The combination of genetic and internet profiling could prove a powerful tool in the battle for the greater understanding of the behaviour of an online service user.

  34. “Oh, and does anyone find any irony in the fact that Mary Kalin-Casey dislikes Google taking a picture of her cat from the street but invited a New York Times photographer into her house to take even more pictures?”

    Yes, completely, I’m glad somebody else noticed this. And I don’t think it’s a “consensual agreement” issue (as MC @ 14 noted), or that the difference is as clear as Kenny @ 16 points out; they could simply have taken (or cropped) her picture with the cat in front of the picture window–instead you can see inside even more of her home in the background. Enough to see she’s got hardwood floors, a green coffee table, a standing lamp with adjustable arm, etc. etc.

    The NYT article even states it was “an interview Thursday on the front steps of the building” (to prove a point?)… so yes, there’s definite irony in the woman who’s become a defacto spokesperson for anti-Google privacy concerns allowing even more of her private life to be revealed to the world.

  35. Gee Robert, you may not want a job threre but the kissing up to Google is getting worse and worse here.

    Here’s a clip from the Front page of a British newspaper last week (http://news.independent.co.uk/sci_tech/article2578479.ece) How LOW a Standard do you want to hold these guys to ?

    In a mission statement that raises the spectre of an internet Big Brother to rival Orwellian visions of the state, Google has revealed details of how it intends to organise and control the world’s information.
    The company’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said during a visit to Britain this week: “The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’.”
    Speaking at a conference organised by Google, he said : “We are very early in the total information we have within Google. The algorithms [software] will get better and we will get better at personalisation.”
    Google’s declaration of intent was publicised at the same time it emerged that the company had also invested £2m in a human genetics firm called 23andMe. The combination of genetic and internet profiling could prove a powerful tool in the battle for the greater understanding of the behaviour of an online service user.

  36. “Oh, and does anyone find any irony in the fact that Mary Kalin-Casey dislikes Google taking a picture of her cat from the street but invited a New York Times photographer into her house to take even more pictures?”

    Yes, completely, I’m glad somebody else noticed this. And I don’t think it’s a “consensual agreement” issue (as MC @ 14 noted), or that the difference is as clear as Kenny @ 16 points out; they could simply have taken (or cropped) her picture with the cat in front of the picture window–instead you can see inside even more of her home in the background. Enough to see she’s got hardwood floors, a green coffee table, a standing lamp with adjustable arm, etc. etc.

    The NYT article even states it was “an interview Thursday on the front steps of the building” (to prove a point?)… so yes, there’s definite irony in the woman who’s become a defacto spokesperson for anti-Google privacy concerns allowing even more of her private life to be revealed to the world.

  37. I totally agree w/ #16… There is a huge difference between inviting a newspaper into your house and having the inside of your house photographed without you knowing it or wanting someone to know about it. I’m amazed that Google Streetview can show the inside of the Battery Tunnel and can also show license plates on parked cars. I would sure be looking to sue someone if my cars license plate photo showed up without my granting permission of ti being used.

  38. I totally agree w/ #16… There is a huge difference between inviting a newspaper into your house and having the inside of your house photographed without you knowing it or wanting someone to know about it. I’m amazed that Google Streetview can show the inside of the Battery Tunnel and can also show license plates on parked cars. I would sure be looking to sue someone if my cars license plate photo showed up without my granting permission of ti being used.

  39. Microsoft spent a crapload of money having PII obfuscated from their pictures. I dare you to find a single license plate in Microsoft’s street level data. Their mapping team told me that the process of going through the images and blurring stuff like that is why their street-level maps rollout was taking so long.

    So I disagree with the argument that Google is being held to a standard higher than Microsoft. Microsoft IS the standard when it comes to respecting peronal information. And I blogged about that point her: http://www.windows-now.com/blogs/robert/archive/2007/05/30/think-google-respects-your-privacy-think-again.aspx

  40. Microsoft spent a crapload of money having PII obfuscated from their pictures. I dare you to find a single license plate in Microsoft’s street level data. Their mapping team told me that the process of going through the images and blurring stuff like that is why their street-level maps rollout was taking so long.

    So I disagree with the argument that Google is being held to a standard higher than Microsoft. Microsoft IS the standard when it comes to respecting peronal information. And I blogged about that point her: http://www.windows-now.com/blogs/robert/archive/2007/05/30/think-google-respects-your-privacy-think-again.aspx

  41. “I would sure be looking to sue someone if my cars license plate photo showed up without my granting permission of ti being used.” – Jonathan, commenter #22

    This is but one of many comments about this whole situation that just doesn’t sit well with me. So if a newspaper or TV reporter were shooting photos or video near a location where your car happened to be parked and your license plate ended up in the photos/video as a result, you would sue them? I doubt it. And you’d have no more right to sue them than you would to sue Google. So far I’ve yet to see any photos mentioned in Google’s new product that couldn’t be seen by me walking or driving (sans camera) past the location. There is nothing private about your license plate. There is nothing private about a cat in your window.

    The day Google sends photographers inside your house to do a 360 pano shot of your bedroom, wake me. Until then, I’m going to continue thinking this whole “OMG MY PRIVACY IS BEING VIOLATED!!1″ thing is ridiculous.

  42. “I would sure be looking to sue someone if my cars license plate photo showed up without my granting permission of ti being used.” – Jonathan, commenter #22

    This is but one of many comments about this whole situation that just doesn’t sit well with me. So if a newspaper or TV reporter were shooting photos or video near a location where your car happened to be parked and your license plate ended up in the photos/video as a result, you would sue them? I doubt it. And you’d have no more right to sue them than you would to sue Google. So far I’ve yet to see any photos mentioned in Google’s new product that couldn’t be seen by me walking or driving (sans camera) past the location. There is nothing private about your license plate. There is nothing private about a cat in your window.

    The day Google sends photographers inside your house to do a 360 pano shot of your bedroom, wake me. Until then, I’m going to continue thinking this whole “OMG MY PRIVACY IS BEING VIOLATED!!1″ thing is ridiculous.

  43. Most of the commenters are missing one major point. Us taking pictures of a yard and posting it on the web is not the same as Google doing it.

    For inst, a street side picture i take – however interesting/tempting it is – might reach 100 people. If i were a A-list blogger then it might reach 1000 may be 10000. But Google’s pictures reach hunderds of millions. That is something to worry about.

  44. Most of the commenters are missing one major point. Us taking pictures of a yard and posting it on the web is not the same as Google doing it.

    For inst, a street side picture i take – however interesting/tempting it is – might reach 100 people. If i were a A-list blogger then it might reach 1000 may be 10000. But Google’s pictures reach hunderds of millions. That is something to worry about.

  45. Beware of standing too close to the Koolaid of any flavor. Google can be just as brainwashing as Microsoft.

    The boundary stops right here when I decide that vendor has gone too far.

    You don’t decide that, I do.

  46. Beware of standing too close to the Koolaid of any flavor. Google can be just as brainwashing as Microsoft.

    The boundary stops right here when I decide that vendor has gone too far.

    You don’t decide that, I do.

  47. “And all this uproar about a Picture. Of. A. Cat.”

    Is your imagination so limited that you’re incapable of seeing that this is just an example of a greater problem? Let’s say I’m studying the history of Nazi Germany and the history of Communism, and Google photos “Mein Kamf” and “Commusist Manifesto” on my bookshelf. Or let’s say I have some porn mags or private marijuana plant in my home. Let’s say I’m coming out of the shower and hadn’t closed the shades to a window that I zipped past on my way to the bedroom. There are any number of things that I might not want photoed for all to see. Open your mind; this isn’t just about a frikin’ cat.

    Google apologists are really something else. They really don’t give a damn what Google does to them. They’ve actually have drunk the “Do no evil” kool-aid to the point where they accept the “Do no evil” PR as an axiom that can be used to prove that whatever Google does is NOT evil by definition.

    Hey, need to prove that an action of Google’s isn’t evil? That’s easy, just cite the “Do no evil” axiom, then add Q.E.D., and your done. Pathetic.

  48. “And all this uproar about a Picture. Of. A. Cat.”

    Is your imagination so limited that you’re incapable of seeing that this is just an example of a greater problem? Let’s say I’m studying the history of Nazi Germany and the history of Communism, and Google photos “Mein Kamf” and “Commusist Manifesto” on my bookshelf. Or let’s say I have some porn mags or private marijuana plant in my home. Let’s say I’m coming out of the shower and hadn’t closed the shades to a window that I zipped past on my way to the bedroom. There are any number of things that I might not want photoed for all to see. Open your mind; this isn’t just about a frikin’ cat.

    Google apologists are really something else. They really don’t give a damn what Google does to them. They’ve actually have drunk the “Do no evil” kool-aid to the point where they accept the “Do no evil” PR as an axiom that can be used to prove that whatever Google does is NOT evil by definition.

    Hey, need to prove that an action of Google’s isn’t evil? That’s easy, just cite the “Do no evil” axiom, then add Q.E.D., and your done. Pathetic.

  49. i do think you are over simplifying the issue with google. If you look at all the google properties (ad sense, analytics, search, desktop search, gmail and google payment ) and potential properties (double click) google will be able in a matter of month to know and predict your habits online. They may say they aggregate the data but if in the wrong hands it could spell trouble.

    Up to now they have had a do no evil policy, but i’m sorry, a mantra with no teeth from real laws doesn’t make me sound asleep.

    I know M$ use to be in this position and the tide is shifting to google. I believe though there is good cause for concern as we should all be pro-active in guarding our privacy or whatever is left of it.

  50. i do think you are over simplifying the issue with google. If you look at all the google properties (ad sense, analytics, search, desktop search, gmail and google payment ) and potential properties (double click) google will be able in a matter of month to know and predict your habits online. They may say they aggregate the data but if in the wrong hands it could spell trouble.

    Up to now they have had a do no evil policy, but i’m sorry, a mantra with no teeth from real laws doesn’t make me sound asleep.

    I know M$ use to be in this position and the tide is shifting to google. I believe though there is good cause for concern as we should all be pro-active in guarding our privacy or whatever is left of it.

  51. I’ll just add that the fact that, according to above posts, Microsoft actually took the time to scrub their photos to preserve people’s privacy, shows that Scoble was wrong when he complained that Google was getting complained about but not Microsoft. The reason Microsoft didn’t get the complaints is that they actually cared enough to take the time and expense to preserve people’s privacy.

    And yet we’re supposed to believe that Microsoft is the “evil” one?

    You know how you can tell that some racists are racists by the fact that they constantly say that they’re not a racist? Well, guess what you can tell about someone who constantly proclaims that he’s “not evil”.

  52. I’ll just add that the fact that, according to above posts, Microsoft actually took the time to scrub their photos to preserve people’s privacy, shows that Scoble was wrong when he complained that Google was getting complained about but not Microsoft. The reason Microsoft didn’t get the complaints is that they actually cared enough to take the time and expense to preserve people’s privacy.

    And yet we’re supposed to believe that Microsoft is the “evil” one?

    You know how you can tell that some racists are racists by the fact that they constantly say that they’re not a racist? Well, guess what you can tell about someone who constantly proclaims that he’s “not evil”.

  53. It is culture wars, plain and simple. Between technophobes and the digerati.

    Just like security hysteria destroyed a good thing (free, open WIFI hotspots), now these people are mindlessly calling for all sorts of ridiculous measures, like the guy above who wants to sue for taking a picture of his license plates. You gotta be kidding me.

    @Robert: “Mapquest still has most of the market.”

    In the US perhaps. Elsewhere, no one even knows who they are. All their audience is doing is hitting print on their site. No wonder it took them nearly two years to add draggable maps. Even so, their implementation is slow, and they don’t even have good zoom levels in the cities. They have been resting on their laurels too long, relying on the muscle memory of their audience alone, and will lose their number one spot within a year.

  54. It is culture wars, plain and simple. Between technophobes and the digerati.

    Just like security hysteria destroyed a good thing (free, open WIFI hotspots), now these people are mindlessly calling for all sorts of ridiculous measures, like the guy above who wants to sue for taking a picture of his license plates. You gotta be kidding me.

    @Robert: “Mapquest still has most of the market.”

    In the US perhaps. Elsewhere, no one even knows who they are. All their audience is doing is hitting print on their site. No wonder it took them nearly two years to add draggable maps. Even so, their implementation is slow, and they don’t even have good zoom levels in the cities. They have been resting on their laurels too long, relying on the muscle memory of their audience alone, and will lose their number one spot within a year.

  55. “The reason Microsoft didn’t get the complaints is that they actually cared enough to take the time and expense to preserve people’s privacy.”

    More like their images are so blurry, and the resolution so low that they don’t have to. Don’t confuse incompetence with caring.

  56. “The reason Microsoft didn’t get the complaints is that they actually cared enough to take the time and expense to preserve people’s privacy.”

    More like their images are so blurry, and the resolution so low that they don’t have to. Don’t confuse incompetence with caring.

  57. Interesting.

    Anything Google does these days tends to get more attention than anything Microsoft does, period. So I suppose that has its pros and cons.

    I’ll leave it at that for now, if only for lack of time…

  58. Interesting.

    Anything Google does these days tends to get more attention than anything Microsoft does, period. So I suppose that has its pros and cons.

    I’ll leave it at that for now, if only for lack of time…

  59. For the record, a spinoff of French France Telecom called Voila added street photography back in 2001. Paris was covered first, then a number of other French cities.

    Just saying…

  60. For the record, a spinoff of French France Telecom called Voila added street photography back in 2001. Paris was covered first, then a number of other French cities.

    Just saying…

  61. @9 “…when had it rescinded because they figured out he didn’t have a college degree.”

    Do you think MAYBE it was because Google had to figure it out that is offer got rescinded, and not the mere fact that he didn’t have a degree? Sounds like someone wasn’t completely honest with information on their resume if Google had to do some “figuring out”. I mean, shouldn’t it have been apparent from the beginning that he didn’t have a degree? Shouldn’t there have been documentation about that in his resume? (oh, that’s right. According to you no one screens based resumes anymore. They use blogs for screening. In which case there will be more dishonesty about one’s background) Now, maybe it is true they don’t hire people without degrees (which I guess would mean Bill Gates has no chance of getting hired at Google, right? Laughable at best), but from your description is sounds like either someone at Google didn’t to a thorough job of screening, which I find hard to believe if he went through enough interviews to get an offer; or someone wasn’t completely honest with about their background. I’m guessing the latter.

  62. @9 “…when had it rescinded because they figured out he didn’t have a college degree.”

    Do you think MAYBE it was because Google had to figure it out that is offer got rescinded, and not the mere fact that he didn’t have a degree? Sounds like someone wasn’t completely honest with information on their resume if Google had to do some “figuring out”. I mean, shouldn’t it have been apparent from the beginning that he didn’t have a degree? Shouldn’t there have been documentation about that in his resume? (oh, that’s right. According to you no one screens based resumes anymore. They use blogs for screening. In which case there will be more dishonesty about one’s background) Now, maybe it is true they don’t hire people without degrees (which I guess would mean Bill Gates has no chance of getting hired at Google, right? Laughable at best), but from your description is sounds like either someone at Google didn’t to a thorough job of screening, which I find hard to believe if he went through enough interviews to get an offer; or someone wasn’t completely honest with about their background. I’m guessing the latter.

  63. @16 “I live near Fort Lewis, which just announced that they will be doing monthly mass-services rather than individual services for dead soldiers, so great are the deaths (Fort Lewis alone lost 19 soldiers last month, and for what?).”

    While that makes a great story for the pacifists and appeasers, I think you may have spoken too soon..

    http://www.komoradio.com/news/local/7775872.html

  64. @16 “I live near Fort Lewis, which just announced that they will be doing monthly mass-services rather than individual services for dead soldiers, so great are the deaths (Fort Lewis alone lost 19 soldiers last month, and for what?).”

    While that makes a great story for the pacifists and appeasers, I think you may have spoken too soon..

    http://www.komoradio.com/news/local/7775872.html

  65. I don’t have a college degree

    Oh. I actually didn’t know that, yeah Google’s academia arrogance will kill them in the end.

  66. I don’t have a college degree

    Oh. I actually didn’t know that, yeah Google’s academia arrogance will kill them in the end.

  67. What does buying a Coke say about you? Not much, right? Well, what if you buy tampons? Doesn’t the marketing world know a little more about you now? How about when you buy AC/DC off of iTunes?

    Wow Robert. You really had me going there….

    With regards to the latter? It’s be saying a hell of a lot about a person. AC/DC isn’t available on iTunes.

    :-)

  68. What does buying a Coke say about you? Not much, right? Well, what if you buy tampons? Doesn’t the marketing world know a little more about you now? How about when you buy AC/DC off of iTunes?

    Wow Robert. You really had me going there….

    With regards to the latter? It’s be saying a hell of a lot about a person. AC/DC isn’t available on iTunes.

    :-)

  69. RE: Kenny(#28)

    You say this: “Let’s say I’m studying the history of Nazi Germany and the history of Communism, and Google photos “Mein Kamf” and “Commusist Manifesto” on my bookshelf. Or let’s say I have some porn mags or private marijuana plant in my home.”

    There’s a big, and incredibly important disctinction you’re missing. These two things could not reasonably be seen from the street. They’re inside your private property and using an insane camera zoom to photograph them *is* going too far, unlike the case of the cat and yes, you naked (towel much?). If I were standing outside of your house, I could see your *manliness,* even without my glasses and my vision’s pretty bad, but not your marijuana and not your bookshelf and not your porn. There’s the difference, and that’s why this is about a cat.

    Also, your comment amuses me because of the coincidence that I bought both of those books from Amazon. Oh no, I hope I’m not on a secret list somewhere. And if I *am* on account of buying these important works, then we have far, far greater problems ahead.

  70. RE: Kenny(#28)

    You say this: “Let’s say I’m studying the history of Nazi Germany and the history of Communism, and Google photos “Mein Kamf” and “Commusist Manifesto” on my bookshelf. Or let’s say I have some porn mags or private marijuana plant in my home.”

    There’s a big, and incredibly important disctinction you’re missing. These two things could not reasonably be seen from the street. They’re inside your private property and using an insane camera zoom to photograph them *is* going too far, unlike the case of the cat and yes, you naked (towel much?). If I were standing outside of your house, I could see your *manliness,* even without my glasses and my vision’s pretty bad, but not your marijuana and not your bookshelf and not your porn. There’s the difference, and that’s why this is about a cat.

    Also, your comment amuses me because of the coincidence that I bought both of those books from Amazon. Oh no, I hope I’m not on a secret list somewhere. And if I *am* on account of buying these important works, then we have far, far greater problems ahead.

  71. @39 “f I were standing outside of your house, I could see your *manliness,* even without my glasses and my vision’s pretty bad,..”

    That’s true, but that’s not the point. Now, if you took a picture and posted on the internet for all to see, that’s going a bit too far. That’s the point. Sure people can walk by and see things. But, broadcasting those point in time images for all the world to see? Without ones permission?

  72. @39 “f I were standing outside of your house, I could see your *manliness,* even without my glasses and my vision’s pretty bad,..”

    That’s true, but that’s not the point. Now, if you took a picture and posted on the internet for all to see, that’s going a bit too far. That’s the point. Sure people can walk by and see things. But, broadcasting those point in time images for all the world to see? Without ones permission?

  73. Scoble…it wasn’t the cat in the window. It was the pics of people outside adult bookstores, strip clubs, etc. that really got people up in arms. Google needs to be a little more responsible about what they put up, they’re looking at serious legal action if it keeps up.

  74. Scoble…it wasn’t the cat in the window. It was the pics of people outside adult bookstores, strip clubs, etc. that really got people up in arms. Google needs to be a little more responsible about what they put up, they’re looking at serious legal action if it keeps up.

  75. As a photographer, I deal with these issues in my own work. As a professor I teach photographer’s how to deal with these issues. Anything that can be seen from street level without the use of a big (the really only gray area here) zoom lens, is NOT private. Keep your blinds closed or anything away from the windows if you don’t want people on the street seeing them. Still afraid? Move to a ranch in Montana with hundreds of acres keeping those prying 35mph cameras away. Or better yet move underground so the big scary cameras in the sky can’t see you.

    As for people going into strip clubs and the like, if you are afraid of being seen doing it, don’t do it.

    As for your license plate, you have got to be kidding me. Thousands of people can see it every day along with thousands of other plates, who cares if anyone sees it.

    If they start showing color xray images showing inside your home then feel violated.

  76. As a photographer, I deal with these issues in my own work. As a professor I teach photographer’s how to deal with these issues. Anything that can be seen from street level without the use of a big (the really only gray area here) zoom lens, is NOT private. Keep your blinds closed or anything away from the windows if you don’t want people on the street seeing them. Still afraid? Move to a ranch in Montana with hundreds of acres keeping those prying 35mph cameras away. Or better yet move underground so the big scary cameras in the sky can’t see you.

    As for people going into strip clubs and the like, if you are afraid of being seen doing it, don’t do it.

    As for your license plate, you have got to be kidding me. Thousands of people can see it every day along with thousands of other plates, who cares if anyone sees it.

    If they start showing color xray images showing inside your home then feel violated.

  77. Actually MS took a lot of criticism last year when they did this: http://preview.local.live.com/

    There were some complaining about privacy, and others claiming that they had ripped-off Amazon. People love to bitch and moan at anything that’s big and successful, its just a fact of life.

  78. Actually MS took a lot of criticism last year when they did this: http://preview.local.live.com/

    There were some complaining about privacy, and others claiming that they had ripped-off Amazon. People love to bitch and moan at anything that’s big and successful, its just a fact of life.

  79. Google Maps Street View vs Microsoft Live Search Preview

    Google Maps Street View has received a lot of attention in the news as of late for posting images that include people, or even items that are viewable through windows inside businesses and homes.
    There are images of women sunbathing, a man coming out …

  80. not much is left private anymore. If you want privacy, get off of your fat ass and close the darn blinds!

  81. not much is left private anymore. If you want privacy, get off of your fat ass and close the darn blinds!