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May 5, 2011 01:48 PM

You'll Soon Be Able to See Inside Buildings With Google Maps

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  1. God, what's next? Better clean-up the downstairs bathroom quick!

    1. Big Brother really IS watching you.

      1. I think one of the key points that makes this acceptable, at least to me, is that businesses are providing the photos voluntarily.

        1. i was in a local independent coffee shop when the google maps guy came in to take pix. the owner was working at the counter. it was respectful. i liked that it was completely unstaged, the guy took pix of each room/area of the shop, complete with normal traffic and ambiance, the regulars' ugly mugs, and all ;-P i haven't remembered to check out whether i'm in any of the final pix. i could see myself checking out these still shots of ambiance/level of formality of places depicted if i was traveling to unfamiliar terrain and had multiple recs to choose from.

          10 Replies
          1. re: soupkitten

            Sorry but it's intrusive and unnecessary. The streetview stuff was bad enough.

            1. re: Kagemusha

              well, no, i'm sorry, i guess. i don't see how it's intrusive, or to whom. the business owner welcomed the google maps guy into the establishment and let him snap pix that would serve to promote the establishment to potential customers, the same way he might give permission to an independent reporter or blogger. restaurants, shops, businesses often have pix of the interiors of their establishments on their own websites, often staged/styled to such a ridiculous degree that they don't reflect the actual ambiance of the establishment at all. arguably, some unstaged "action photos" taken during typical business times would be valuable to some folks looking for a potential stop on the way to an appointment, local hangout in their new neighborhood, or first date place. most pictures are "unnecessary," but it doesn't mean that most pictures are not helpful. that's why people like newspapers and mags and online resources with pix, and many people prefer a picture to a written description of a place. again, it isn't as if the google map people are sneaking in and surreptitiously snapping pix, everything was above the table and no money, or espresso, or cold press, or pound of beans, or anything else, changed hands.

              does the idea offend you, and other folks, because you can't avoid looking at the pictures somehow? does it seem like a waste of resources/pixels? i don't have a problem being the minority pov on this, but i don't understand what the issue is at this point. if nobody feels wronged, is it wrong?

              1. re: soupkitten

                It's too easy just sit in your bedroom on your arse. If you want to find out about someplace badly enough then maybe you actually have to get dressed and check it out sometime. What's wrong with the pleasant surprise of an actual discovery?

                1. re: Kagemusha

                  "What's wrong with the pleasant surprise of an actual discovery?"

                  Nothing. If you choose to go this route then just don't use the service others may find it useful.

                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    Why read reviews? Why read chowhound? Just randomly pick a place and go eat.

                    1. re: donovt

                      Ever trust your own judgement? I just don't live in that much fear to depend habitually on someone else's take.

                      1. re: Kagemusha

                        No reason to make it personal. I just don't see why someone who posts this much on a food discussion board is judgmental of people who want information or new ways of getting that info.

                        1. re: donovt

                          It's really an objection to relying on other's opinions more often than personal judgement.

                          Besides there's great truth in the old Marxist saying:

                          "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"

                    2. re: Kagemusha

                      How is it fundamentally any different than asking here on chowhound "what's the ambiance?" "are the tables close together?" I don't get your issue with it. It's simply another method to get some useful information.

                    3. re: soupkitten

                      What about the customers? Did Google ask their permission? Did the business owner? Were customers given the opportunity to leave if they did not want their picture taken?

                      What's the current law regarding whether a restaurant is a public place or a private place? In the USA? Elsewhere? Citations, please? (In Europe the courts appear to have ruled that restaurants are not public places...see Section 4.3.1 here:

                      Although such places appear to be "places of public accommodation" (not the same, legally, as “public place” as I understand it) where the expectation of privacy is low (but not absent), the situation whereby one's photo is now available for viewing by anyone in the whole damn world seems a step above more usual circumstances. A newspaper reviewer snapping a pic of a restaurant room with customers in it for illustrating his/her upcoming review in the paper somehow seems less intrusive, even if people anywhere can look up that review on that paper's website and view that photo. (For that matter, does the photographer for that review normally ask the permission of the diners? I'm genuinely asking about this) Perhaps because these Google-taken pictures that include customers are intended right from the start to be accessed by the whole world, as "reference" pictures, stored on a computerized system that is freely accessible by anyone without limitation, is what bothers me…

                      A grey area, I imagine,** but I'm interested in the legal ramifications especially when this proposed Google feature involves yet increasing levels of technology that may outpace law.

                      Responses from lawyers appreciated.

                      **…and there was a furious discussion about the photographic “outing” of S. Irene Virbilia (LA Times food critic) not so long ago, I remember…

                2. ......... And in other news, now Yahoo has a competing app. Yes that's right now with Yahoo's new app, you can see inside your own butt! Track that batch of habanero peppers through your digestive system so you can estimate when the burning after-effects of your habanero binge last night will finally end.

                  [you heard it from me first. Think of Popkin the first time you see that headline. Disclaimer: I make no claims about knowing WHO will actually be the one to put the app out. But somebody will...... lol]