With all the talk about the wonders of Google in recent posts, it’s a timely reminder about how useful its services can be, although some overestimate its capabilities.
I remember a conversation with someone who shall remain unnamed about what traffic problems we might encounter on a shopping trip. This otherwise savvy person suggested that we check out the roads on Google Earth.
I expected her to laugh at her own joke (for it was a she) but she was deadly serious and I had to explain that the satellite maps were not ‘live’.
Of course Google is also capable of doing some sneaky and grubby things, but it isn’t exactly Big Brother. At least not yet.
However, that doesn’t stop some people thinking so. There was a letter in a national newspaper this week from a woman from in Frizington, a small village in rural Cumbria, that illustrates the point.
She said that the chimney and roof on her house had been damaged in gales last year, but that when she put in an insurance claim she was turned down ‘because my house had been Googled previously and the chimney had a crack showing’.
Here’s a link to Frizington on Google Maps and I defy anyone to carry out a satisfactory structural survey based on what you can make out by zooming in on the rooftops. And it’s pretty much the same story on Streetview.
She claimed that insurers are using this ‘eye in the sky’ to their advantage, but I would be amazed if any of this story is true and I haven’t seen the Daily Mail rushing to cover the story as anything anti-Google is right up their street. If you’ll pardon the pun.
Perhaps they will prove me wrong and I shall look out for it next week.